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Gum Boil Popped: Next Steps

For the past few weeks, a pimple erupted onto the gums and it has persisted since then. However, it popped all of a sudden on its own without you doing anything. Maybe it happened while you were eating.

gum boil near molar
gum boil near molar

Is that supposed to happen? Does it mean that it's finally resolved now?

We're here to tell you that your problem has only just begun because the gum boil will keep coming back. Just because the boil popped, it did nothing to get rid of the source of the problem. You will need to see a dentist.

Table of contents:

What is that boil on the gums?

That boil is NOT an ordinary pimple on the gums because it's true identity is a tooth abscess. To be precise, it is an extension of a periapical abscess that develops around the tooth root. The boil which you see is simply the orifice that leads directly into the sinus tract of the infection.

gum boil with sinus tract
gum boil with sinus tract

The reason that we're explaining all of this is that the gum boil is only a symptom. The source of the infection is the abscess coming from the tooth. Therefore even if the pimple pops, you've done nothing to resolve the infection coming from the tooth.


What happens when a gum boil bursts?

The gum boil bursting open is a natural progression of this condition. There are essentially three important results that happen once it pops.

  • Purulence of exudate oozes out of the boil.

  • Immediate pain relief.

  • Source of the abscess remains intact.

Pus oozes out

Since the boil is an abscess, you can expect pus to ooze out of it once it pops. That is a white fluid which is full of dead white blood cells and bacteria. It is a hallmark trait of an infect.

gum boil

What you'll notice is white liquid coming out of the pimple. It will have a terrible smell and horrible taste that comes with it. It is an infection after all, would you have expected otherwise?

Pain relief

Once it bursts open, you should get some much needed pain relief. Prior to the pimple popping, it can be extremely painful because you feel the pressure building up from the purulence production. You can think of it as a full balloon that is ready to pop.

However once it successfully deflates, the pain from the pressure building up will dissipate. Therefore, having it burst is actually a good thing.

Source of abscess still untreated

Despite getting pain relief from the gum boil popping, the unfortunate news is that the source of the abscess remains intact. Just because it popped, it did nothing to resolve the source of the infection.

What you'll notice is that over the next week or so, the boil may swell up again only to pop once more. It will keep coming back until you finally treat the source. This is evidence that popping it only addresses the symptom but not the source. If you wanted to know how long it can last, the answer would be until you get proper treatment.


What you should do after it pops

Immediately after the gum boil pops, you should clean out the area and disinfect it as best as you can at home. Then you should schedule an appointment with your dentist for permanent treatment.

The only way to permanently treat it and prevent it from coming back is with a root canal or extraction. Proper treatment for it is the same as a periapical abscess, since that is what it is.

  • If the prognosis is good, a root canal would be sufficient.

  • If the prognosis is questionable-poor, an extraction would be required.

Immediate action at home

Right when the boil pops, you'll experience a burst of purulence oozing out of it and into your mouth. It will taste, smell, and feel absolutely disgusting since that liquid is all infection. You need to clean your mouth immediately.

How to clean your mouth following an abscess popping:

  1. Rinse your mouth out thoroughly with salt water or your choice of mouthwash.

  2. Repeat as often as needed, such as if you taste pus in your mouth.

The rinsing will get rid of the pus and bad taste in your mouth. It is preferable to not swallow the exudate from the pimple on the gums. It's not nutritious nor is it helpful to do so.

Treatment with your dentist

You will need to see your dentist for permanent treatment, which will be either a root canal or a tooth extraction.

  • Root canal. The infected nerve will be removed from the tooth, which will resolve the source of the abscess. Once this is completed, the abscess at the root tip will go away along with the pimple on the gums.

  • Extraction. Alternatively, your dentist can remove the entire tooth to get rid of the infection. This is more invasive and a root canal since you'll be missing a tooth afterwards.

When each treatment would be appropriate would depend on the prognosis of the tooth as well as finances. If the infection is too severe, you may not have any option except to extract it. You can however save the tooth if it is only mild-moderate prognosis-wise.

Another often overlooked part of the decision process is finances. A root canal which would also need a crown afterwards, costs significantly more than a tooth extraction.

  • Average cost of just a root canal is $1223.37 without insurance while a crown is $1316.05

  • Average cost of an extraction is $325.38 without insurance.

Finance can play a big role in the decision as to what you should do.


If your gum boil pops, you'll most likely experience immediate pain relief but it doesn't mean that the ordeal is over. It is merely just the beginning because this condition is an oral manifestation of a dental abscess.

You will need to seek professional treatment with your dentist in order to permanently treat it. If you don't, that pimple will simply keep on coming back every few weeks until you give it the attention that it deserves. That is the recommendation by our dentists in Long Island City.



David Chen 200 x 200.jpg

About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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