Periodontal abscess

It is a common dental emergency where we see a localised collection of a pus filled sac due to an increase in virulent organisms in an existing pocket or due to a decrease in drainage potential. Periodontal abscesses may be seen in patients both with active periodontal disease or not, as often a times foreign body impaction in otherwise healthy gingival tissues may also occur.

To diagnose periodontal abscesses, patient history is thoroughly taken by Dr. Sanz, our excellent periodontologist with many years of experience doing complex cases, who will then clinically assess your oral health and check for symptoms of an abscess. Some common signs and symptoms patients may present with are the following:


  • Swelling with or without pain
  • Pus from pocket or sinus
  • Bad taste associated with pus
  • Pain on biting
  • The feeling of a tooth elevation
  • Tenderness

Clinical Signs

  • Increased probing depth
  • Pus
  • Tooth mobility
  • Tender to palpation


Dr. Sanz will carry out the first line of treatment to drain the pus by making a small incision, under local anaesthesia which will completely numb the area and give instant relief to the patient once it is drained. Furthermore, cleaning and irrigation of the area with saltwater and antiseptic rinses will be done to eliminate the bacterial load and allow the host response to combat infection. The clinical treatment at Wilmington may be accompanied by anti-bacterial medication. Post-operative salt water rinses are also given to reduce swelling.

Following treatment of the abscess, it’s important to have the underlying periodontal condition treated by Dr. Sanz or the chances of another abscess forming will increase. The patient may also have more chances of getting super-infections if the use of systemic antibiotics is done without taking care of the root cause of the abscess. As part of the treatment, your oral health status will be checked here at Wilmington Periodontics and Implants and necessary patient education and follow- up visits will be scheduled according to your needs.

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