Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess is a sac of infected material called pus in a tooth or the gums.

  • Causes

    Bacteria cause a tooth abscess. It begins when bacteria invade and infect a tooth. This results in pus build-up. When the pus is unable to drain, an abscess results.

    Conditions that allow bacteria to invade a tooth include:

    • Severe
      tooth decay
    • Break or crack in a tooth that lets bacteria invade the pulp
    • Failed root canal treatment

  • Definition

    A tooth abscess is a sac of infected material called pus in a tooth or the gums.

    Abscess Between Tooth and Gum
    Abscess tooth
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  • Diagnosis

    Your dentist will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A detailed exam of your teeth and gums will be done.

    Images may need to be taken of the tooth and surrounding bone. This can be done with

    A sample of the abscess fluid may be taken and tested.

  • Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of getting a tooth abscess, follow proper dental hygiene:

    • Brush your teeth
      with fluoride toothpaste after meals or at least twice per day.
    • Floss
      between your teeth and gums
      every day.
    • Get regular dental check-ups and teeth and gum clearnings every six months.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your risk of developing a tooth abscess include:

    • Build up of tartar or calculus beneath the gum line
    • Poor dental hygiene leading to cavities and periodontal diseases

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms of a tooth abscess include:

    • Throbbing/lingering pain in a tooth or gum area
    • Pain when biting
    • Pain from hot or cold
    • Sudden tooth pain
    • Redness, tenderness, or swelling of the gums
    • Fever
    • Bad breath or foul taste in mouth
    • Open, draining sore on the gums

    If left untreated, complications of tooth abscess include:

    • Loss of tooth and surrounding tissues or bone
    • Spread of infection to surrounding tissue or bone

  • Treatment