Abscess Tooth: Symptoms and Treatment

Sad man getting bad tooth

Discover the signs that could mean you have an abscess tooth, and what options you have to remedy the pain, swelling, and other symptoms due to this dental issue. 

Table of Contents

What is an Abscessed Tooth?

An abscessed tooth is when a significant amount of pus forms from an infection around your tooth. Abscesses can occur in different places, usually around the tooth roots on your gums. There are three different types of infections: GingivalPeriodontal, and Periapical.

What are the Symptoms of a Tooth Abscess?

When you have an abscessed tooth, your main symptom will be a throbbing pain near your teeth or gums. If left untreated, the pain will get worse over time. Once the abscess ruptures, The pain will immediately go away, and you will have a bad taste in your mouth as the pus drains out. Gross, we know. 

Other symptoms you may experience include:

  • Pain in your ear, jaw, or neck
  • Pain while chewing 
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Swelling in the face
  • Swollen gums
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Fever

What are the Types of Infection Associated with a Tooth Abscess? 

As we mentioned before, there are three types of infections when it comes to an abscessed tooth.

The three types of infection associated with this are:

1. Gingival

An infection that develops in the gums. Your teeth are usually unaffected.

2. Periapical

An infection that is formed at the tip of the tooth root. This happens when bacteria spread to the inside of the tooth and pulp because of a fracture or cavity in the tooth.

Once bacteria are in the pulp, things can get complicated since the infection can spread to the bone.

3. Periodontal

An infection that starts in bone and tissues near the tooth. This is usually caused by gum disease.

What are the Treatments for a Tooth Abscess?

When treating an abscessed tooth, your dentist or periodontist’s goal is to clear up the infection and relieve your pain. A dental X-ray will be necessary to see if the infection has spread and help your dentist decide on a treatment plan that’s right for you. 

Depending on the conditions, treatment options could include:

  • Draining – Your dentist will make a small cut to drain the pus. They clean the surrounding area. 
  • Tooth extraction – In severe cases, the tooth may be too damaged, and your dentist will have to drain and remove the tooth.
  • Root canal procedure – Your dentist will drill into the tooth to get rid of the abscess and the infected pulp. Then they fill and seal the hole to keep the remaining pulp intact. You may have to get a crown to strengthen the area.
  • Antibiotics – This is a great option for when the infection has spread or for people with weak immune symptoms.

What to do for Tooth Pain While Waiting for Your Dentist Appointment?

In the meantime, while you wait for a dentist appointment, take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug to ease the pain. Remember to practice good dental hygiene if you’re looking to prevent it. Brushing twice daily, flossing, and seeing your dentist every six months will help keep your mouth healthy and clean.

If you’re worried about a possible abscessed tooth, speak to your dentist immediately, and don’t try to pop anything at home since it could cause the infection to spread.

Tooth Abscess FAQs

A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that forms in your gums due to a bacterial infection. Typically, an abscess appears as a red, blotchy lump, boil, or pimple. It affects the concerned tooth, but the infection can also spread to adjacent bone and neighboring teeth.

Abscesses can develop in various locations near a tooth for various causes.

An abscessed toot can result from anything that makes it possible for bacteria to enter your tooth or the tissues around it. some causes are:

  1. Devastation of your tooth’s hard surface is known as a cavity (also known as tooth decay). When bacteria break down the sugars in food and drink, acid is produced that damages enamel.
  2. Teeth that are fractured, chipped, or cracked might have any opening filled with bacteria, which can then spread to the pulp.
  3. Periodontal disease, often known as gum disease, is an infection and inflammation of the gum and dental tissue. Bacteria are able to enter deeper tissues when gum disease worsens.
  4. Injury to the tooth: Even if there is no crack apparent, trauma to a tooth can nonetheless cause injury to the inner pulp. It is susceptible to infection because of the damage.

An abscessed tooth is more likely to form if you:

  • Smoking: Compared to non-smokers, smokers have a roughly twofold increased risk of developing tooth abscesses.
  • Have xerostomia (dry mouth): Bacteria flourish in mouths with little saliva.
  • Have poor oral hygiene: Bacteria are reduced with regular brushing, flossing, and tooth cleanings.
  • Having a compromised immune system might make it more difficult to fight off infections. Diseases and drugs can impair your immunological response.

An abscessed tooth won’t heal on its own. If an infection kills the pulp inside your tooth, the pain can go away. You may not be able to feel the pain because the nerve quits working, which causes the agony to stop.

The bacteria will nonetheless carry on spreading and destroying the tissue around it. Even if the pain has subsided, visit the dentist if you are these symptoms.

After treatment, a tooth abscess will subside. It can take a few days to feel entirely normal after experiencing temporary sensitivity, which is common.

Healing timeframes can differ because each instance is distinct. Find out from your dentist what to expect following treatment.