What is a Tooth Abscess?

A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that forms around the root or bone of an infected tooth. An abscess occurs when bacteria invade the pulp (the nerves and blood vessels) of the tooth and then spreads to the root. Most often an infection is a result of a deep cavity, tooth decay, gum disease or a cracked tooth. There are two types of abscesses; a periapical abscess that forms at the tip of the tooth’s root and a periodontal abscess that affects the bone next to the tooth. The infection can cause severe pain, gum inflammation, redness, swollen lymph nodes, fever, chewing pain and bad breath. In some cases, an abscess causes a pimple-like bubble on the gum and if pressed pus will ooze out, this can cause no present symptoms as the pus pocket has somewhere to drain. An abscess won’t get better on its own, and lack of treatment can cause the inflection to spread beyond the jaw to the neck, head and other body parts. Antibiotics can be used to suppress the infection and relieve pain however, they won’t cure the abscess. A root canal treatment can cure an abscess by eliminating the infection to save the tooth. however, if a root canal treatment has a poor prognosis and the tooth cannot be saved, the tooth will need to be extracted and to eliminate the infection.

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