| Risk Factors
A tooth abscess is a sac of infected material called pus in a tooth or the gums.
Abscess Between Tooth and Gum
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A tooth abscess is caused by bacteria. 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:
- Break or crack in a tooth that lets bacteria invade the pulp
- Failed root canal treatment
Factors that may increase your chance of a tooth abscess include:
- Build up of tartar or calculus beneath the gum line
- Poor dental hygiene leading to cavities and periodontal diseases
A tooth abscess may cause:
- 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
- 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
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.
Removal of Abscess Via
If an abscess results from tooth decay or a break or crack in the tooth:
- The tooth and surrounding tissue is numbed and a hole is drilled through the top of the tooth.
- Pus and dead tissue are removed from the center of the tooth.
- The interior of the tooth and the root canals are cleaned and filled with a permanent filling.
- A crown is placed on the tooth to protect it.
If an abscess results from infection between the tooth and gum:
- The abscess is drained and thoroughly cleaned.
- The root surface of tooth is cleaned and smoothed.
- In some cases, surgery to reshape the gum is done to prevent a repeat infection.
- Tooth extraction may be required if:
- Tooth decay and/or tooth infection is too extensive for filling or root canal treatment.
- The break or crack in the tooth is too severe to be repaired.
- The infection or loss of tissue/bone between the tooth and gum is severe.
If the tooth is extracted, it will be replaced with a:
- Antibiotics to fight residual infection of the tooth or gums
- Over-the-counter pain relief drugs such as ibuprofen
To help reduce your chance a tooth abscess:
Brush your teeth
with fluoride toothpaste after meals or at least twice per day.
between your teeth and gums
- Get regular dental check-ups and teeth and gum cleanings every 6 months.