What is an abscessed tooth?
abscessed tooth is an infection in or around the tooth. It can be very painful. If the infection isn't treated, it can
spread and you can lose your tooth or have other health problems.
What causes an abscessed tooth?
Damage to the tooth, an untreated
cavity (tooth decay), or gum disease can cause an abscessed
If a cavity isn't treated, the inside of the tooth
pulp ) can become infected. Bacteria can spread from
the tooth to the tissue around it, creating an abscess.
disease causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, leaving pockets. If food
builds up in one of these pockets, bacteria can grow, and an abscess can form.
Over time an abscess can cause the bone around the tooth to dissolve.
What are the symptoms?
- Throbbing pain, especially when you chew.
- A bad, salty taste in your mouth.
Swelling in your jaw or face.
- A fever.
- A red, swollen bump in your mouth. It may have blood or pus oozing from it.
- A tooth that is very tender or sore to the
Over time as the infection spreads, the bone in your jaw
may start to dissolve. When this happens, you may feel less pain, but the
infection will still be there. If you lose too much bone, your tooth will become loose
and may have to be removed.
If you have a severe toothache, swelling of the gums or face, or drainage of pus, call your dentist
right away. You may have an abscessed tooth. If it isn't treated, the
infection could spread and become dangerous.
How is an abscessed tooth diagnosed?
Your dentist will ask about your symptoms and look for swelling and other signs of infection in your mouth. He or she may tap on the tooth and apply heat or cold to the tooth.
Your dentist may also take dental X-rays.
How is it treated?
An abscessed tooth needs treatment right away. Your dentist may:
- Give you antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the infection.
- Make a hole in the tooth to drain the infection and relieve the pain.
- Do a root canal to remove the infected pulp in the tooth.
- Remove the tooth. This may be needed if you don't want a root canal, or if you have one and it doesn't work.