How To Pop a Gum Boil At Home

Written & Reviewed by Dr David Chen

Since a gum boil literally looks like a pimple on the gums, you can simply pop it like any other pimple right? Your thinking isn’t exactly wrong since any fluid filled sac can indeed get popped. That includes acne, pimples on the gum, and even abscesses.

While you may pop it on your own at home, we’re here to explain to you as to why that may not be the best decision. We don’t recommend doing it because popping it is completely ineffective in treating the source of the problem.

You should really see a dentist if you have a boil on the gums. We’ll explain why.

How to pop it

Popping a gum boil is really no different than if you tried to pop a pimple on your face. The only difference is that this one is inside of your mouth and on your gums.

How to pop a gum boil at home:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Squeeze the boil with your fingers until it pops.
  3. Rinse your mouth out well with mouthwash.

All it takes to pop it can be described in three simple steps. Aside from that there are two important points that you need to pay attention to.

  • Remember to wash your hands so that you’re not introducing bacteria into the mouth.
  • Rinse out really well afterwards because once it pops, bad tasting pus will ooze out of it.

With that being said, we do not recommend trying to pop the gum boil intentionally.

Why we don’t recommend it

Despite how easy it may be to pop it, we really do not recommend doing it at home.

  • It can be painful. If you intentionally try to pop it, it can be pretty painful. When the boil is filled with pus and fluids, it can be very tender to touch it. Squeezing it with your fingers can cause you pain.
  • It usually pops on its own. Instead of trying to pop it yourself, you can wait for it to pop on its own. That is correct, a gum boil will usually pop on its own without any intervention from you.

These pimples on the gums will often pop all by themselves. It’ll usually happen while you’re eating, especially if you’re eating semi hard foods like potato chips which can scratch it. The boil is literally like a balloon that is filled with pus. A light scratch from a chip will pop it easily.

Most of our patients don’t need to touch it at all since it’ll pop by itself. Therefore, a better way to “pop it” is to actually just munch on a bag of your favorite potato chip. By the time you finish the entire bag you’ll find it deflated.

Popping it is ineffective

Even though you can pop a gum boil at home, doing so is completely useless. Sorry to burst your bubble but this condition is actually an oral manifestation of a tooth abscess. That pimple which you see on the gums is the orifice which connects to a sinus tract that leads straight to a periapical abscess.

What we’re trying to tell you is that it’s not so simple as having a pimple on the gums. Your gum boil is a full blown dental abscess. Even if you manage to pop it, it does NOT treat the source of the infection and what you’ll notice is it’ll come back a week or two later.

Does not treat source of infection

The source of the infection is a tooth abscess meaning that it originates from within the tooth. Typically the nerve gets infected and then the infection travels down the canal to the tip of the root. From there an abscess slowly forms and starts destroying your jaw bone. The extent of the damage can reach its way to your gums, which forms a pimple.

Gum boil with sinus tract - drawing
gum boil with sinus tract

Essentially all of that pus that you keep squeezing out of the boil is being generated from the abscess around the tooth root. Continually popping it does nothing to get rid of the abscess. The only way to treat it is by getting rid of the source, the infected tooth nerve so that it stops producing pus.

In case you were wondering if there was a difference between a gum boil and an abscess, there isn’t one. They’re the same thing.

It’ll keep coming back

Popping the boil is ineffective since it does not treat the source. Evidence of this is how the gum boil keeps recurring despite your multiple attempts to deflate it.

This is probably what you’ve been experiencing:

  1. You pop it.
  2. Pimple deflates over the next few days.
  3. Gum boil returns after a week or two.
  4. You repeat steps #1-2 but it keeps on coming back!

The sheer fact that it keeps coming back means that whatever you’re doing is not a permanent solution. Would you like to know what you should be doing to make it go away forever?

What you should do instead

Instead of trying to pop the pimple on the gums at home you should see a dentist for a permanent cure. Your dentist won’t even bother trying to pop it because they’ll recommend a root canal instead.

The source of the infection stems from within the tooth because it is odontogenic in origin. To be more precise, the source comes from an unhealthy or infected tooth nerve. Therefore in order to treat it properly and get rid of it, you must remove the nerve. The only way to do that is via a root canal procedure.

root canal steps diagram

About a week or so after your dentist completes the root canal treatment you’ll notice it deflate and disappear. Basically the pimple will disappear without your dentist even having to “pop” it. It also won’t come back even after many weeks pass which just shows you that this is the right treatment.

Basically, popping it at home is a form of palliative treatment, which may relieve pressure and pressure coming from it. The downside is that it does not cure the condition. The only permanent treatment for it is to remove the infected tooth nerve with a root canal.


You can try popping a gum boil at home but that won’t really help you because it does nothing to treat the source of the infection. Yes, that gum pimple is technically a tooth abscess whether you know it or not.

You should really see your dentist to have this treated properly.


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