Abscess Tooth: Signs, Symptoms & 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. 

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.

Tooth Abscess Symptoms

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

Types of Infection 

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

The three types of infection associated with abscess teeth are:

  • Gingival – An infection that develops in the gums. Your teeth are usually unaffected.
  • 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.
  • Periodontal – An infection that starts in bone and tissues near the tooth. This is usually caused by gum disease.

Tooth Abscess Treatment

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 your tooth pain while you wait 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 an abscessed tooth. 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.: