Pictures of Gum Boils

Updated: 22 hours ago

This is a collection of clinical pictures of gum boils, which are essentially a tooth abscess that is trying to erupt through your gums. Another description for it would be a pimple on the gums because that is what it looks like.


Descriptive appearance of a gum boil:

  • Pink, red, or white in color. It could be a mix of all three.

  • Small pimple on the gums.

  • Usually located below the gum line of the affected tooth.

  • Pus could be oozing out of it.


Table of Contents:



Pictures of a gum boil from a molar tooth


Gum boil from molar tooth with a crown
Gum boil from molar tooth with a crown

gum boil below lower molar
gum boil below lower molar

Gum boil behind last molar
Gum boil behind last molar

This is an x-ray of what a gum boil looks like:


x-ray of a gum boil
x-ray of a gum boil

The gum boils for these teeth are actually from a tooth that has already had a root canal. Yes, you heard that right, root canal teeth can get reinfected and develop a pimple on the gums. That is actually a tell tale sign of a failed or reinfected root canal treated tooth.



Picture of a gum boil that was left untreated for 6 months

This is a series of pictures of a gum boil from the SAME patient who decided to leave the gum boil untreated. The photos are approximately six months apart.


gum boil next to molar
what the gum boil looks like when patient first came in

Here is what it looks like six months later and as you can see, the size of it got bigger! This is why you should not leave it untreated because it'll only get worse.


gum boil 6 months later


Picture of a gum boil that is healing

This photo shows a previous pimple on the gums that is now starting to heal. The pimple has completely flattened but you could see where it use to be from the dark red scar that was left behind.


healing gum boil
healing gum boil

Pictures of gum swelling that are NOT gum boils

Since they're literally just pimples on the gums, a lot of people will mistake gum swelling for a gum boil. That is absolutely not true because it has to look a certain way for it to be one. Here are some photos of gum swellings that may make you think it is one but is not.


gum swelling around crowns
gum swelling around crowns

The photo above has a lot of gum swelling all around the crowns. That however is NOT a gum boil. The boils are typically localized to one small spot where the abscess oozes out of it.


When you have diffuse swelling that encompasses large swaths of the tooth, it is most likely not the same thing. That type of swelling is just a regular old gum abscess or it could potentially just be severe gingivitis.


The photo below is of a pregnancy tumor, which isn't a true tumor. It is actually just pregnancy induced gingivitis which manifests as a scary looking pimple on the gums.


pregnancy tumor
pregnancy tumor

It may look like an enlarged pimple but it is not a gum boil because gum boils are the result of a tooth abscess. This is not from an abscessed tooth but rather from severe gum inflammation, which is completely different!



Treatment

Since gum boils are the result of an abscess coming from the tooth, the only way to get rid of it would be to get rid of the abscess. Most commonly, the abscess stems from a tooth that is infected with a dead nerve.


There are only two treatment options in getting rid of an abscess associated with a dead nerve:

  • Root canal

  • Tooth extraction


Root canal

The more conservative way to treat a gum boil because it removes the infected nerve but leaves the tooth intact. Your dentist may need to leave medication inside of the tooth canal in order to completely eradicate the abscess.


Here is what to expect for the procedure:

  1. Administer local anesthesia to numb the infected tooth.

  2. Disinfect the canals with sodium hypochlorite.

  3. Place antibiotic medication inside the canals to kill the infection.

  4. Leave antibacterial medication for 1-2 weeks.

  5. Evaluate whether the pimple on the gums is gone or not.

  6. If it is gone, you can finish the root canal by placing the root filling material.

  7. If it is not gone, you will have to repeat steps #3-6 until it goes away.


After the treatment is completed, you will need to get a crown on the tooth. That helps to protect it and seal everything off from the external environment.



Tooth extraction

Alternatively you could be more aggressive and just extract the entire tooth. That will certainly get rid of not only the abscess but also the tooth along with it.


Just be aware that this is an irreversible procedure and your dentist will most likely prefer not to resort to it unless they have to. This treatment is usually only used if the infection is too severe or if the patient does not have the finances to afford a root canal and crown.


An extraction is definitely less costly than saving the tooth, which is why some people may opt for it. Although if finances are not an issue, we do highly recommend attempting to save it because if you wanted to replace the missing tooth with an implant later, it'll probably be more expensive than the root canal anyway.



Risks of not treating it

If you decide to leave the gum boil untreated, the condition will undoubtly get worse. The abscess will slowly grow and eventually cause your face to swell up as well.


Tooth abscess causing face and neck swelling
Tooth abscess causing face and neck swelling

If the swelling travels down your face and into your neck, it could potentially be life threatening. The swelling could close off your airway and make it difficult for you to breath. If you can't breathe, you can potentially die.



Takeaway

Those are all pictures of gum boils so hopefully you now know what they look like. If it seems like you have what looks like one of the above, you should try to seek treatment as soon as possible because the condition can worsen.


That small little swollen pimple could grow in size and affect your entire face. This is because the little boil is one of the stages of a tooth abscess. Infections will progress and advance to the next stage and that can potentially be life threatening.


You really don't want to be in the position of thinking about how long until a tooth infection can kill you...

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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!