A dental abscess is a pus-filled bump on the gums, often near a tooth. There are two types of dental abscess: periapical and periodontal abscess. In periapical abscess, the pus-filled abscess appears in the dead pulp of a tooth. This type of dental abscess is caused by broken teeth, oral disease, or tooth decay.
On the other hand, periodontal abscess forms when pus fills the tissues of the periodontium. The swelling occurs alongside a tooth. This condition is caused by acute bacterial infections.
Tooth abscess is not life-threatening as long as it is treated properly. Ideally, you have to go to your dentist to drain the abscess, especially if it’s caused by a dead tooth. But if the abscess is caused by bacterial infection, you can pop it yourself. Warning: popping a tooth abscess is not for the faint of heart! Here’s how:
Identify the Location of the Abscess
Focus on where the pain is concentrated. An abscess will appear as a solid bump and may or may not have a white head. Tooth abscess are extremely painful but the pain will subside as the bump grows. The key is to determine where the concentration of the pus is located before popping it out and not randomly poke or fuss over other inflamed areas of the gums. Doing so might increase the size of the bump and cause the pain to multiply.
Prepping for Pricking
You can use either a pin or a needle. We recommend going for needles with the thinnest point so it’s less painful once you prick the abscess. IMPORTANT: You need to sterilize the needle by boiling it in hot water for 10 minutes. Allow the needle to cool in room temperature.
While waiting for the needle to cool, brush your teeth thoroughly. Finish off with an antiseptic mouthwash to prep your mouth and get clean cotton balls and tissues. Saturate several cotton balls with the antiseptic mouthwash too and set aside. Wash your hands really well.
Now, after the needle cooled down and you’re ready to prick your abscess, face the mirror. Start in a comfortable position. The gums are made from thick tissues so don’t be surprised if it’s hard to poke it with a needle. Focus on the highest point of the bump or the area of the bump where you see reddish-white spot and poke it halfway with the needle. Remove the needle immediately after. A greenish or yellowish liquid should ooze out of the punctured gums. Do not swallow; spit it all out and rinse your mouth with water.
Draining the Abscess
After removing the pus, the bump should have reduced in size significantly. But you’re not done yet. With your clean fingers, start pressing the gums near the punctured area. Do this until no pus or blood oozes out. Again, do not swallow; spit everything and wash your mouth thoroughly.
When the abscess is completely drained, get a cotton ball saturated with antiseptic and apply on the affected area. As the accumulated pus and blood are removed from the bump, the pain should subside gradually together with the tenderness and swelling.