Periodontal abscesses develop around the teeth. This is different than an abscess that develops within a tooth because of tooth decay or a fractured tooth. Periodontal abscesses can be acute or chronic. A periodontal abscess is caused by bacteria trapped between the gum tissue and the tooth. These bacteria produce exudates (pus), redness, swelling, and pain. When you have an acute periodontal abscess, the process happens quickly. There usually are no symptoms when you have a chronic periodontal abscess because the chronic periodontal abscess develops slowly.