Tooth Abscess: 3 Facts to Know

Tooth Abscess 3 Facts to Know

A tooth abscess can develop without warning. Suddenly you experience throbbing pain in your jaw, and it becomes more intense within a few hours. Often the pain radiates into to the ear or neck. Here are three facts to know about tooth abscess:

1. Causes – Foods and beverages consumed throughout the day can form a soft sticky film called plaque on your teeth. If plaque isn’t removed through daily tooth brushing and flossing, it can form an infection that attacks your teeth and gums. If left untreated, the infection can develop into an abscess of accumulated pus inside a tooth or in the surrounding gum tissue.


There are three types of tooth abscess:

  • Periodontal – Develops in the bone tissue supporting the tooth.
  • Gingival – Forms in the gum tissue, but doesn’t involve the tooth structure.
  • Periapical – Starts inside the soft pulp of the tooth.

2. Symptoms – While intense pain is a common indication of tooth abscess, there are other indicators, such as:

  • Fever
  • Sensitivity to cold or hot foods and beverages
  • Restless or malaise
  • Sleeplessness
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing

3. Treatment – Contact your dentist if you have any symptoms of tooth abscess. Treatment can include prescription antibiotics to kill the infection and a procedure to remove the abscess. Depending on the type and severity of the infection, oral surgery may be required to drain to the abscess or to perform a root canal procedure. If the abscess reoccurs, the dentist may need to extract the tooth and replace it with a bridge or implant.

Prevent mouth infections by scheduling regular dental appointments for a checkup and cleaning. The dentist will examine your teeth and gums for signs of decay and other problems. Early detection also helps reduce the need for expensive treatments. Fortunately, dental insurance helps cover the cost, especially since preventive care usually is covered. Learn more about the value of dental insurance by reading this blog.
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