Chronic periodontal abscess


A chronic periodontal abscess is an infection around a tooth usually caused by longstanding gum disease (periodontitis). The abscess has generally been developing over a long time. 


  • Discomfort, rather than pain, mainly when biting on the tooth
  • The tooth may be loose
  • There may be pus present - either around the gum margin or from the gum overlying the root (sinus)
  • Bad taste
  • A swelling that tends to come and go

Home care advice

A chronic abscess is generally not a painful condition unless it turns acute. Treatment at home is generally aimed at keeping the area clean and draining any build up of pus if possible.

  • Warm salt water rinses - one teaspoon of salt in a tumbler of warm water. Keep each mouthful in for 30 seconds until tumbler is empty. Repeat 3x daily.
  • Chlorhexidine gel applied topically OR a chlorhexidine mouthwash  used twice daily.
  • Encourage any pus that is visible to come out
  • If abscess becomes acute then the swelling and pain will increase and then contact a dentist for further advice.

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Written by Andrew Bain BDS MJDF (RCS Eng)
May 2, 2020