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How do you treat a periodontal abscess?


This Urgent care Scenario is presented by the JCDA Oasis Team in collaboration with Dr. Ignacio Christian Marquez, Associate Professor in the Division of Periodontics, Department of Dental Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry at Dalhousie University

Periodontal Abscess

Perio abscess

Localized, purulent infection within the tissues adjacent to the periodontal pocket that may lead to the destruction of periodontal ligament and alveolar bone.




  • Inquire about any history of chronic periodontitis and the nature of any recent dental/periodontal interventions.
  • Determine the existence of a periodontal pocket.
  • Confirm the presence of purulent exudate.
  • Obtain radiographic evidence of bone loss. However, the lack of evident bone loss does not necessarily eliminate the existence of a periodontal abscess.


Based on clinical observations/investigation, a diagnosis of periodontal abscess is determined.


Two-Staged Approach 

Suggested Resources

  1. Lang N, Soskolne WA, Greenstein G, Cochran D, Corbet E, Meng HX, et al. Consensus report: Abscesses of the periodontium. Ann Periodontol 1999;4(1):83.
  2. Herrera D, Roldan S, Sanz M. The periodontal abscess: a review. J Clin Periodontol. 2000;27(6):377-86.
  3. Sanz M, Herrera D, van Winkelhoff AJ. The periodontal abscess. In: Lindhe J, Lang NP, Karring T, editors. Clinical Periodontology and Implant Dentistry. 5th ed. Oxford: Blackwell Munskgaard; 2008. p. 498-503.
  4. Parameter on acute periodontal diseases. American Academy of Periodontology. J Periodontol. 2000;71(5 Suppl):863-6


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