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An abscess refers to the collection of pus within the tissues. 

A dental abscess is essentially a mouth infection caused by 
bacterial growth in an already infected tooth. Poor dental care
often results in cavity formation in the teeth. Slowly and gradually, 
the infection starts spreading to the gums as well as its 
surrounding areas and finally causes a dental abscess. 
Its typical symptoms include swelling, pain and mouth redness.

Dental abscess can be cured by dental treatment done by the dentist. 
In certain cases, it might require a surgery too.

Dental abscess are two types

1. Periapica labscess: Tooth abscesses occur at the root tip and the 
pus is generally formed in the bone surrounding the tooth. Such an 
abscess is known as periapical abscess.

2. Periodontal abscess: It is also called as gum abscess.  In this type of 
abscess bacteria infect the gum.

The dentist usually advises a course of antibiotics to overcome the 
infection and painkillers to reduce the pain.


Causes of tooth abscess

It is the result of a chronic infection of the pulp tissues that spread 
beyond the tooth in long-standing cases. Dental caries if not treated 
in the initial stages continue to affect the pulp, which may further 
progress to form an abscess.


Symptoms of tooth abscess

  • Tooth abscess may either be characterized by a small swelling on
    the gums near the affected tooth or may result in a diffuse swelling 
    visible on the face. 
  • Chronic pain or pain that worsens at night may also be noted. 
  • Fever may occur in some cases.
  • The affected tooth generally has a big cavity and may also be mobile. 

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Complication of tooth abscess

Promptly consulting the dentist is required, if one see any signs of a swelling 
in his/her mouth or on the face to prevent complications.

Severe cases of tooth abscess may at times be life–threatening.1  


Management of tooth absecess

Treatment for dental abscess

Most abscesses are painful, so one needs to seek treatment right away.  Apart from the more intricate dental interventions like drainage, root canal, or extraction, the start-up treatment for a dental abscess begins with painkillers and antibiotics.

Medication for tooth abscess


Dental procedures:

If the swelling is of noticeable size then, the dentist may also drain 
the pus to relieve the symptoms.

The affected tooth will either be treated with the root canal therapy 
or may be removed if it is grossly destructed. Minor gum surgeries 
may also be required in some cases.

The swelling usually reduces within a few hours or 1–2 days depending 
on its severity.

Image courtesy: daviddarling.info/images

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: March 26, 2012