Abscessed Tooth – Issue, Types, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Outlook

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Healthy quote | Issue | Types | Causes | Symptoms | DiagnosisRemedies | Alternatives | Approach | Outlook | Overview


An abscessed tooth happens when pus and bacteria collectively form inside the tooth, pulp, or gum.


The surrounding area of periapical abscess is likely to cause severe toothache, swelling gums, or pain when you consume food and beverage.


Diagnosis of a tooth abscess may reveal existing and potential areas where the abscess can occur, regardless of  upper or lower parts of teeth.


If left untreated, the invasion of dental plaque can spread to other parts of your teeth, gums, mouth, or even into your digestive tracts and brain – collateral damage to the body as well as life-threatening complications.


Today’s healthy quote, “Bacteria infections are the worst nightmare to deal with. No one can predict the aftermath of an infected tooth!”



Tooth infection won’t go away on its own.


When left unattended, lack of proper dental treatment, the abscess can (further) spread to your jaw, nerves, other areas of your head, or neck.


If treated, it can take a couple of weeks for the tenderness and swelling to subside, and a tooth extraction may or may not happen depending on the extent of oral damage – don’t delay treatment for a dental abscess.


The American Association of Endodontists (AAE) revealed that an abscessed tooth causes pulp (soft tissue inside the root canal of a tooth) demise, becomes inflamed, and may result to life-threatening conditions.


Regular dental visits to your trusted dentist, accompanied by brushing and flossing habits, serve as a protection against dental emergencies and common oral problems like cavities and tooth decay.


Abscessed Tooth - Issue, Types, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Outlook - Healthaon

Is it possible to save an an abscessed tooth?

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Acute dental abscess is often underestimated in terms of its morbidity and mortality. Oral infections are causing more hospitalizations.


According to Paragon dental clinic, statistics revealed more than 40% increase in hospitalization due to dental abscesses under a 8-year study, and 66 in 8,141 people didn’t survive the ordeal.


An accredited dentist or endodontist finds dental abscesses during a regular dental checkup. Tooth diagnostic tests like teeth-probing, spotting, visual images, X-rays, and questions help identify abscesses and other oral problems.


If you’re having an infection, you might get a toothache, especially when you eat or drink something sweet, hot, or cold. Abscesses, bacterial, or pus can be either visible or not visible to the naked eye.



The unique types of dental abscesses depend on the prevailing oral condition, location, extent of infection, and other variables.


The three common types include:

Periapical abscess. Found at the tip of a tooth’s root.

Gingival abscess. Located on the gums.

Periodontal abscess. Commonly spotted on the gum next to the root of a tooth. It’s possible to spread to surrounding bone and tissue.



Dental plaque. Daily food and beverage consumption are highly linked to dental abscesses on the teeth, gums, nerves, pulps, tissues, and molars.

Upon invading the dental pulp, innermost part of the tooth, bacteria infection begins to spread across the entire mouth.


Common causes of abscesses include:


Causes of Tooth Abscesses:

High-sugar diet. Sugar commodity can cause cavities, decays, and abscesses.

Age. Aging effect contributes to muscle degeneration in teeth, gums, jaws, cheek and bone structures.

Unclean tongue. Bacteria in tongue further increases oral risks.

Poor dental habits. Residual debris and plaque from unclean teeth, poor oral hygiene, or not brushing teeth.

Severe decay. Badly decayed tooth extends beyond the tooth deeply into the gums and nerves.


Causes of Dental Abscesses:

Corrosion. Carbonated drinks contain high acid (pH) values.

Periodontal abscess. Typically associated with severe gum diseases.

Dental plaque. Existing bacteria in the mouth slowly dissolves tooth enamel.

Gingival abscess. Food particles often get embedded in your gums.

Improper brushing techniques. Not brushing your teeth correctly, less than twice daily, and under 2 minutes.

Other health issues. Existing medical conditions (i.e. diabetes or autoimmune disease) can increase likelihood of dental abscess. 



The primary symptom is pain. The signs and symptoms do vary, in size, location, the extent, and visibility. Read on how to spot the signs and symptoms of an abscessed tooth below.


Other symptoms include:


Symptoms of Abscessed Tooth:

Pain in tooth. Throbbing, persistent, or severe toothache.

Oral sensitivity. Change in temperature causes tooth shocks.

Tooth pain. Spontaneous pain without an apparent reason.

Fever. Sudden breakout of fever.

Swelling. Happens on the facial areas such as cheeks or jaw lines.

Lymph nodes. Found under the jaw or in the neck areas.

Strange taste. An abscess has ruptured.


Signs & Symptoms of Dental Abscess:

Pain continuation. Feeling of pain radiates to ear, jaw, or neck.

Sleep disorder. Unable to sleep because of worsened pain.

Pain in tooth. Excruciating pain when you bite down.

Swollen gums. Gums turned red in color, sometimes darkened.

Loose teeth. Discolored or loose teeth.

Halitosis. Bad breath occurs when you talk to a dentist.

Parageusia. Dysegeusia is a dental infection especially acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis.


Signs & Symptoms of Other Abscesses:

Insufficient fluoride. Lack of fluoride or toothpaste in brushing.

Poor oral hygiene conditions. Failing to brush or floss daily.

Eating disorders. Forced-feeding like bulimia syndrome, and anorexia.

Reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux diseases (GERD), acid reflux, or heartburn tears down enamel shield.

Physical impact. Sports accident, auto accident, or physical damages.


Prognosis & Diagnosis

During regular dental checkups, your dentist may perform additional (specialized) tests to confirm whether your abscessed tooth is under dental care or emergency dental care.


Diagnostic tests include:

Tooth tapping. Applied mild pressure on different regions of the mouth, your trusted dentist may ask you on the level of discomfort: 1-10 rating.

X-rays. An X-ray, or other imaging test (i.e. CT or computed tomography scan) can help confirm an abscess.

Lab tests. A dental test will be done if antibiotics cannot combat your initial bacterial infection, or the spread of bacteria to other parts of body.



Any abscess can be treated with the help of dental works. High-quality, advanced dental treatment can mitigate, reverse, or restore your tooth’s health. Natural and home remedies work well in the early phases of an abscessed tooth.


Depending on the type and severity, remedies include:


Treatment for Small Abscess:

Fluoride toothpaste. Continuous brushing of teeth with proper oral care products can resolve tooth and gum conflicts.

Oral products. Salt, water, and over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), whenever necessary.

Herbs. Herbal remedies can alleviate tooth pain.

Antibiotics. Level I defense to prevent infection from spreading.

Avoidance. Temporarily avoid sugar-rich foods and carbonated drinks.


Treatment for Tooth Abscess:

Antibiotics. Slow or diminish the infection, helpful for patients with a weak immune system.

Herbs. Natural, organic herbs help alleviate tooth pain.

Scheduled appointment. Increase number of visits as regular dental checkups for cleaning and washing.

Applied coating. A special chemical coating to prevent further spreads.

Root canal. An advanced dentistry practice used to remove non-living pulps, nerves, and tissues.

Extraction. Pulling the affected tooth is the last resort to preserve oral health for the rest of your mouth.


Treatment for Dental Abscess:

Incision. A dental assistant will make a small cut in the abscess for your dentist to drain the pus (i.e. bacterial infection). They’ll progressively clean the area with saline solution.

Root canal procedure. Drilling into the affected tooth to drain the abscess and remove infected pulps.

Tooth extraction. If you trust your dentist, he or she may recommend to remove the tooth if it can’t be saved – infected local alveolar bone.

Emergency dental care. Immediate treatment involves antibiotic therapy for cellulitis, drainage of abscesses, and alternative prescriptions.



Enhancements on dental care is necessary to lower the risk of decay, cavity, infection, or further strain on your teeth. Prevention is always better than cure.


Fluoride toothpaste. Always use a toothpaste with fluoride content to brush your teeth.

Brushing techniques 101. Learn the art of brushing your teeth in the right manner, at least twice a day.

Dental flossing. Get the habit of flossing your teeth to remove stubborn plaque and debris which a normal soft-bristle toothbrush is out of reach.

Control. Limit your food and beverage consumption high in sugars and acids.

Healthy foods. Consume more calcium-rich and fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and supplements.

Wear a mouthguard. Practice safety in separating the upper and lower parts of teeth especially during intense sports activities.

Warm water. Drink lukewarm water, keep the mouth moist and avoid GMO substances.

Oral care. Use non-alcoholic mouthwash to rinse off the bacteria and plaque residing in the mouth.

Reduce acidic intakes. Lower the amounts of acidic foods and beverages.

Regular dental visits. Visit your dentist on time for professional cleanups and oral exam.



Risk of tooth cavity, decay, infection, or other oral concerns remain. Further complications include ongoing tooth pain, abscess, development of pus, broken or chipped tooth, difficulties in daily routine, or even psychology problems.


Learn more about other dental care and oral health issues that might be of concern to you.

Tooth Diagnosis | Dental Psychology | Dental Fracture | Cavities | Abscessed Tooth | Dry Sockets | Tooth Decay | Infection | Extraction | Gum Diagnosis | Dental Anxiety | Gum Infection | Dental Filling | Dental Flossing | Toothache | Teeth Brushing 101 | Root Canal | Root Canal Anxiety | Wisdom Tooth Relief | Home Tooth Extraction | Toothache Causes | Tooth Sensitivity | Emergency Dental


Else, a dental treatment prevents the need for extraction and saves the natural tooth. Never avoid the problem of an infection, abscess, crack, or whatever the issue might be.



List of questions. Always prepare some information to help you better communicate with your dentist.

Cavity. A cavity can be avoided, treated, or mitigated, depending on the type of treatment options.

Consultation: In an event of a cracked tooth, see your dentist as soon as possible.

Psychology: Talk to a psychologist or counsellor to better handle toothache psychological problems.

Observations: gum diseases, tooth cavities, bacteria infections, cracks, swellings, or renewed bleeding.

Oral care: toothbrushes, toothpastes, mouthwashes, whitening agents, dental flosses, filaments etc.

Dental tips: call up your local dentist -> set an appointment date -> attend regular dental checkups etc.

Healthy practice: avoid artificial ingredients, unhealthy eating, smoking, irregular brushing habits etc.

Health and wellness: 30-minutes fitness, home workouts, calcium-rich foods and beverages, sleep etc.

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