Mouth problems can make eating, drinking, and talking difficult, and one of the most common oral problems is having a gum abscess, which can cause so much discomfort. Fortunately, dealing with a gum abscess is no rocket science but draining an abscess should be done by a dentist. However, if no dentist is around, knowing how to drain a gum abscess at home can be the next best thing.

What Is a Gum Abscess?

Abscesses are pockets of pus that can develop in different parts of the body. A gum abscess then is a pocket of pus inside the mouth. Contrary to popular belief, a tooth abscess is not the same as a gum abscess since the former develops on the area surrounding a tooth while the latter is on the gums itself.

A gum abscess is also known as a periodontal abscess. It can be quite painful and if left untreated can result in serious complications.


Many people do not notice that they already have a gum abscess until the pain becomes too unbearable. There are, however, early telltale signs of gum abscesses.

For one, there will be redness and swelling in the affected area. Those suffering from gum abscess will also experience sensitivity from cold or hot food and drinks, as well as experience some pain when chewing.

Those who taste something bad in the mouth must check the gums as the pus discharge could be the one causing the bad taste. In some cases, the patient may also suffer from fever.

How to Drain a Gum Abscess at Home?

A gum abscess is best treated by a dentist who will tap the affected area to check the severity of the abscess. Sometimes, dentists require an X-ray of the area to determine how far the infection has spread.

However, in cases when one does not have access to a dentist immediately, draining the abscess at home might be necessary. It is not complicated and can be done with the following steps:

1. Gathering the Materials Needed

To drain the abscess, one should have a new needle or a small sharp instrument that can be used for lancing. A clove oil to act as a numbing agent, sea salt to use for mouth washing, latex gloves, and two, clean, empty water glasses.

Those who will lance should have clean hands by lathering for at least 20 seconds using hot soapy water.

2. Sterilizing the Instrument

The sharp instrument has to be sterilized by boiling it in a pot of water and placing the instrument in the boiling water for at least two minutes. After boiling, place the needle on a clean plate.

3. Preparing the Solution

Fill the glasses with cold water and add some of the sea salt, and then gargle using the solution.

4. Popping the Abscess

Go to the bathroom and stand in front of the mirror. Grab the latex gloves and wear them. Rub the clove oil in the affected area and wait for the gums to feel a bit numb.

Position one hand comfortably in the mouth and pull the facial skin of the affected area so that you can see the pus. Using the other hand, get the needle and prepare to pop the abscess.

Using the needle, check for the softest area of the abscess. This is where you will press the needle to drain the pus.

5. Draining the Pus Out

There are two ways to drain the abscess. The first is a slow and deliberate method where one will insert the needle gently until it pops. The second method is the quick pressing of the needle on the pus with some force. Of the two, the first method is more painful.

Some abscess takes time to drain, and in such cases, one has to massage the cheek where the affected area is to apply more pressure. Once all the pus seems to have been drained, then spit them all out to the sink.

After spitting out all the pus in the mouth, gargle with the sea salt mixture. Make sure to keep on gargling until all of the pus and even blood have been cleared and spit out.

Make sure that the mouth is as clean as possible in the next 24 hours. One should avoid overeating as well. It is best to eat soft food and keep the food on the other side of the mouth or opposite the abscess to prevent any infection.

Other Home Remedies

Knowing how to drain a gum abscess at home is not a good reason to refuse to see a dentist. It is still best to see the dentist to ensure that no complications will arise. There are home remedies to minimize the swelling and pain until your trip to the dentist.

1. Baking Soda and Salt Mixture

Baking Soda can help remove the plaque in the mouth as it has antibacterial properties.

  • What to do: Mix a half a tablespoon of baking soda, one-half cup of water, and a pinch of salt together. Gargle using this mixture for up to five minutes then spit out. Continue gargling until the mixture is finished.
  • Frequency: Gargling with this solution can be done twice a day.

2. Thyme Oil

Thyme oil is a natural oil that can both help fight the bacteria as well as reduce the swelling. There are two ways of using thyme oil when dealing with a gum abscess.

  • What to do: One can apply the oil directly to the affected area either with the use of cotton swab or ball. You can also make a mouthwash by adding a couple of drops of the oil to a cup of water.
  • Frequency: Thyme oil can be used on the gums up to three times a day.

Final Thoughts

Draining out a gum abscess may be easy but can also be done at home. However, it is still best to see the dentist to make sure that all the pus have been removed as well as to ensure that no complications arise. There are remedies that one can do at home to reduce the swelling and infection until the next visit to the dentist. Many of the ingredients for these remedies are easily found.

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