Most people have experienced at least one wound in their lives that had pus coming out of it, but seeing it emerge from your gums is a completely different experience. If you're having this problem or someone that you care about is, you should get help right away. Here's why this is such a big deal and why you shouldn't put off getting help.
What it Means
Pus is only created by the body for one reason: it's the result of an invasion. The invasion, so to speak, can be bacterial, viral, or a foreign body that your immune system is trying to expel. However, in the case of gums, it's most likely a bacterial infection.
Bacteria is what's responsible for gum disease and gum infections. However, most stages of gum disease won't cause pus to come out from under your gums. If you see pus, it indicates that your body is fighting the infection very hard and that the infection is likely quite severe. To make matters worse, if pus adheres to your gums and isn't cleared away while you're asleep, it can potentially increase your risk of developing more plaque, which in turn could lead to even worse gum disease.
If you're having this problem, you should head to an emergency dentist right away. Specialists typically don't see new patients without a recommendation from a general dentist first, so an emergency dentist is best equipped to take care of you.
Your dentist will examine your gums and start cleaning the area of any debris, bacteria, plaque, and tartar. Doing this will help to open up passages for the gums to leak more pus, getting it out of your body. If you have gum pockets, your dentist will clean under those as well. Stripping away built-up plaque and tartar can help to bring down inflammation in your gums, which will not only speed up the healing process but should also help to reduce your discomfort.
Finally, your dentist is likely to prescribe an antibiotic for you. This will help you to start fighting the infection in a new way. If your dentist thinks that you may need additional care, they'll provide a referral to a periodontist so that you can seek additional help once you're no longer in immediate danger.
Why You Shouldn't Put it Off
It might surprise you to hear about treating a gum infection in such dire terms, but the reality is, gum infections can be devastating.
Gum disease can put your teeth at risk. It can wear down your jaw bones and make them thinner and more brittle. Gum-based bacteria and plaque have also been linked to cardiovascular concerns, as well as potentially dementia. If that weren't bad enough, gum infections have been known to kill when they hit the bloodstream.
If you're experiencing a severe gum infection, get to an emergency dentist for help right away. Your overall well-being could rely on it.