Gum Abscess Popped By Itself (What To Do)

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If you’ve ever experienced a dental abscess, you know how much of a dental nightmare it can be. The throbbing pain, the swollen gums, and the pulsating bump near your tooth can turn even the bravest of souls into a whimpering mess. But what happens when that dreaded abscess takes matters into its own hands and pops by itself? Is it a sign of relief, or should you be concerned? In this comprehensive guide, we will take you on a journey through the world of dental abscesses, from understanding what they are to managing them when they burst on their own.

What is a Dental Abscess?

A dental abscess is a painful condition caused by a bacterial infection that affects your teeth, gums, or the surrounding tissues. It typically starts as a small cavity or untreated tooth decay that allows harmful bacteria to penetrate the inner part of your tooth known as the pulp. The pulp contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues, making it a prime target for infection. As the infection progresses, your body’s immune system kicks into high gear to combat the invaders, resulting in the formation of a pus-filled pocket. Picture it as a tiny warzone in your mouth, with the good guys (your immune system) battling against the bad guys (the bacteria).

What Happens if a Gum Abscess Bursts?

So, what happens when that pesky dental abscess decides it’s had enough and pops on its own? First, there might be a momentary sense of relief as the pressure causing the excruciating pain is temporarily alleviated. It’s like a pressure valve being released, calming the storm inside your mouth. However, this moment of relief is deceptive, as it doesn’t mean the problem has been resolved.

When an abscess pops on its own, it’s like a truce in an ongoing war. The immediate pain might subside, but the root cause of the problem – the infection – still remains. Think of it as a ticking time bomb; without proper treatment, the infection will continue to spread, causing more damage and potentially leading to more serious health issues.

Is it Good if an Abscess Pops on its Own?

The answer to this question is a bit nuanced. While the momentary relief from the pain might seem like a positive outcome, the truth is that it’s not a long-term solution. Relying solely on an abscess to burst on its own without seeking professional dental care is not advisable. It’s like putting a band-aid on a gaping wound; it might temporarily cover the problem, but it won’t heal it.

The key takeaway here is that when an abscess pops on its own, it should serve as a signal to seek immediate dental attention. Professional treatment is necessary to address the root cause of the infection and prevent it from spreading further.

How Long Does it Take for a Gum Abscess to Pop on Its Own?

The time it takes for a gum abscess to burst on its own can vary from person to person and depends on the severity of the infection. For some, it might happen within a day or two, while for others, it could take longer. However, it’s essential to reiterate that waiting for an abscess to burst on its own is not a recommended course of action. The infection won’t resolve itself without proper treatment, and delaying treatment can lead to more complications.

Once an abscess is treated by root canal or extraction, the abscess will go away because the source of the infection is gone. 

Should I Go to the ER if a Gum Abscess Bursts?

A burst gum abscess can be a distressing experience, and you might be tempted to rush to the emergency room seeking immediate relief. While the ER can provide pain management and possibly prescribe antibiotics to control the infection temporarily, it’s not the best place for definitive treatment.

Dental abscesses are best handled by dentists who have specialized knowledge and expertise in oral health. Dentists can diagnose the underlying cause, provide appropriate treatment, and ensure that the infection is effectively dealt with. Therefore, it is highly recommended to seek dental care as soon as possible rather than relying solely on the emergency room for long-term solutions.

What to Do After a Gum Abscess Bursts?

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of a burst gum abscess, here are some steps to take before you can see your dentist:

Keep it Clean

 Gently rinse your mouth with warm saltwater several times a day. This helps keep the area clean and may promote drainage of the remaining pus.

Pain Relief

Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help alleviate the discomfort. Follow the dosage instructions and consult a healthcare professional if needed.

Cold Compress

 Applying a cold compress on the outside of your cheek near the affected area may help reduce swelling and provide some relief.

Go To The Dentists Immediately

Like we mentioned before, going to the dentists is the right course of action in most cases. Dentists will be able to properly assess the situation and determine the proper next course of action. Sometimes if an abscess is large enough or it is symptomatic with pain, your dentist will prescribe an antibiotic. 

What if You Can’t See a Dentist Immediately?

If you have a serious abscess that bursts, and seeing a dentist immediately may not be feasible. In such cases, it’s essential to manage the situation as best as you can until you can receive professional dental care. Here are some measures to consider:

Avoid Aggravating Foods

 Stick to soft foods that won’t irritate the affected area, and avoid hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods that may trigger discomfort.

Maintain Oral Hygiene

 Continue to brush and floss your teeth, but be gentle around the affected area.

Don’t Delay

Even if you can’t get to the dentist, Make every effort to see a dentist as soon as possible. Delaying treatment can worsen the infection and lead to more complications. There are emergency dental offices that are usually open 24 hours for this reason, so if you have one close to you, then make sure to go there. 

Should You Try Home Remedies or Treatments?

The internet is brimming with home remedies and DIY dental treatments, but it’s crucial to exercise caution when considering them. Some home remedies might offer temporary relief, but they do not address the underlying infection.

Attempting unproven home remedies or treatments can lead to more harm than good. Improper practices might aggravate the infection, delay necessary treatment, or even cause further damage to your oral health. It’s best to rely on professional dental care for a safe and effective resolution.


In this comprehensive guide, we’ve embarked on a journey through the world of dental abscesses and their spontaneous eruptions. A gum abscess popping by itself might bring a momentary sigh of relief, but it’s not the end of the story. Seeking professional dental care is essential to address the root cause of the infection and ensure effective treatment.

So, if you find yourself facing the wrath of a gum abscess, don’t let it be a cliffhanger. Call your dentist and let them take charge of the battle to restore your oral health. Remember, a healthy smile is worth fighting for, and with the right dental care, you can emerge victorious in this dental saga.


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Author and Medical Reviewer

Erica Anand is a certified dental expert. She holds a BA in Chemistry and a Doctorate of Dental Surgery from Stony Brook University. After completing a two-year pediatric dentistry program, she now runs a private practice focusing on preventive dentistry and is a member of the American Association of Dental Consultants.

Editorial Director

Marcus Ramsey has been a professional writer for over seven years. He has talked about and produced content for industries like Dentistry, Healthcare, and more.

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