Updated: Apr 19
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
This is an x-ray of what a gum boil looks like:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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:
Administer local anesthesia to numb the infected tooth.
Disinfect the canals with sodium hypochlorite.
Place antibiotic medication inside the canals to kill the infection.
Leave antibacterial medication for 1-2 weeks.
Evaluate whether the pimple on the gums is gone or not.
If it is gone, you can finish the root canal by placing the root filling material.
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.
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.
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.
When the swelling is as big as the photo above, the you will need a dental abscess drainage.
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...