Dental Abscess


A dental abscess is a pocket of infected substance (pus) that is caused by tooth decay, periodontal disease or a cracked tooth. Openings in the tooth enamel allow bacteria to infect the tooth pulp which may result in the death of the pulp.

There are two types of abscess depending on the tooth region where the abscess is formed:

  • Periapical abscess: An abscess which is formed at the tip of the root. This abscess usually occurs as a result of an untreated dental cavity.
  • Periodontal abscess: An abscess which is formed between tooth and gum.

The main symptom of dental abcess is a severe, persistent and throbbing toothache that is extended over the facial side where the abcsess is formed. Other symptoms can include:

  • Redness andswelling
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in mouth
  • Sensitivity to cold and hot food or liquids
  • Fever

There are many ways to dental abcess treatment. ADA offers the following 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 infection is caused by periodontal disease
  • root canal treatment if the abscess is caused by decay or a cracked tooth

If the abscess is not treated in time, it can lead to a serious infection in the jaw bone, teeth and surrounding tissues.

Maintaining good oral hygiene by brushing, flossing and using mouthwash as a routine and regular dental check-up for treatment of dental caries, alleviate risk of dental abscess.