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Abscess (Toothache)

An abscessed tooth is an infection caused by tooth decay, periodontal disease or a cracked tooth. These problems can let bacteria enter the pulp (the soft tissue of a tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue) and can lead to pulp death. When pus builds up at the root tip in the jaw bone, it forms a pus-pocket called an abscess. If the abscess is not treated, it can lead to a serious infection in the jaw bone, teeth and surrounding tissues.

Symptoms of an abscess include:
  • pain
  • swelling
  • redness in the gums
  • bad taste in the mouth
  • fever

An abscessed tooth can be treated with various treatments, depending on the severity of the infection. Here are some of the treatment methods a dentist may consider:

  • antibiotics, to destroy the bacteria causing the infection
  • drainage of the infection
  • cleaning the space between the tooth and the gum if the cause is from gum disease
  • root canal treatment if the abscess is caused by decay or a cracked tooth

Following good oral hygiene practices and routine dental exams will significantly reduce your risk of developing a tooth abscess. If your teeth experience trauma (become loosened or chipped), see your dentist as soon as possible.