An abscessed tooth is an infection caused by tooth decay, periodontal disease or a cracked tooth. These problems allow bacteria to enter the pulp (the soft tissue of a tooth). When pus builds up at the root tip in the jaw bone, it forms a pus-pocket called an abscess. If the abscess is not treated, it can lead to a serious infection in the jaw bone, teeth and surrounding tissues. Symptoms of an abscess include: pain, swelling, redness in the gums, bad taste in the mouth, and fever.
There are various treatments, depending on the severity of the infection:
- Antibiotics, to destroy the bacteria causing the infection
- Drainage of the infection
- Cleaning the space between the tooth and the gum if the cause is from gum disease
- Root canal treatment if the abscess is caused by decay or a cracked tooth
Following good oral hygiene practices and routine dental exams will significantly reduce your risk of developing a tooth abscess. If your teeth experience trauma (become loosened or chipped), see your dentist as soon as possible.