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What Happens If You Pop a Gum Boil?

Updated: Jan 18

You may have noticed a gum boil or pimple on your gums and you're probably wondering what happens if you pop it. After all it shares a strikingly similar appearance to a regular face pimple. Can you treat it the same way?

pimple on the gums
pimple on the gums

What will happen if you decide to pop the pimple on your gums?

You are correct in that it is a pimple and that it does contain fluid within it just like the ones on your face. If you decide to pop it, you'll most likely find some type of fluid oozing out of it and it may come in different colors.

  • White liquid. This is pus, which is a mix of dead bacteria and white blood cells.

  • Red liquid. This would be residual blood that may squirt out of the boil.

What you'll also notice immediately is a foul taste in your mouth from the excrement of the pimple. The red fluid will taste metallic since it contains blood. The white fluid will just taste nasty since it is pus (an infection).

You should rinse your mouth out with Listerine, hydrogen peroxide, or salt water to remove the foul taste from the popped gum boil. It wouldn't hurt to brush your teeth afterwards as well.

After its been popped, the gum boil should deflate and go away after a few days. However, you should be aware that it will definitely return at a later point in time. It may come back after a week or if you're lucky maybe a few months later. Nonetheless, it will come back and that is guaranteed.

The reason why it will come back is because the gum boil itself is a result of a tooth abscess and the source of the infection actually stems from an infected nerve. As long as the infected nerve remains inside of the tooth, the boil will keep returning!

x-ray of infected nerve with a gum boil that keeps returning

The x-ray above is of an infected nerve that has a gum boil that keeps coming back. That dark circle around the tip of the root is where the pimple is coming from. Until that nerve gets treated it will return. This tooth actually had a root canal but it got reinfected once again!

Related content: Guide all about gum boils.

Should you pop a gum boil?

You can pop it if you want to since it isn't harmful nor detrimental to do so. In fact, if you were feeling pain from the pressure building up in the pimple, popping it will actually relieve some of that pressure. You'll notice immediate pain relief once you pop it. Although technically you are draining it when you "pop it".

We've a guide all about how to drain a tooth abscess here. Despite you being able to drain it at home, it will do little to solve your problem. Yes, it may help alleviate some of the pain but it does not get rid of the source of the infection.

The picture below is of a popped and deflated gum boil. You can still see the residual red scar on the gums where the pimple once was. It'll stay deflated for awhile but mark our words, it will definitely return once more to cause you pain.

deflated gum boil (red spot on gums)
deflated gum boil (red spot on gums)

Thus, even after you pop the boil, you should still schedule an appointment with your dentist to have it permanently treated. The only way to cure this is by getting rid of the source of the infection, which is the unhealthy nerve. In other words, you'll need a root canal procedure from your dentist which essentially removes the nerve from the tooth.

What to expect from a root canal procedure:

  1. Numb the tooth.

  2. Excavate all decay within the tooth.

  3. Extract the infected nerve.

  4. Disinfect the entire canal.

  5. Place antibiotics within the canal.

  6. Put in a temporary filling.

  7. Return to dentist in 2 weeks.

  8. Disinfect the entire tooth once again.

  9. Place root canal filling material.

  10. Now you're ready for a dental crown.

The Verdict - to pop it or not to pop it?

Sure, if you want to pop the gum boil you may go ahead and do so. The worse that can happen is that you may feel a small pinch as you're popping it. You'll end up with a bit of blood and pus oozing out, which will give you a foul taste in your mouth. If you simply rinse your mouth out well you should be able to get rid of the taste.

However, you should be aware that even if the pimple deflates after a few days, it will return once again because the boil is more than just a pimple. It is actually a tooth abscess and the infection stems from the nerve of the tooth.

The only way to make it go away permanently is by treating the unhealthy nerve which would be getting a root canal. Only your dentist can do that for you because there isn't any home remedy available that can take the place of a root canal procedure. In other words, you might as well make a check up appointment with your dentist if you see a boil on your gums!

It's not as innocent and harmless as it may seem.



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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