Tooth Abscess

dental root abscess from decayed tooth

A dental abscess is a painful and often serious dental infection characterized by a collection of pus, typically caused by a bacterial infection. Abscesses can form in various parts of the tooth, including the root or between the tooth and gum.

Symptoms of a dental abscess can include severe, throbbing tooth pain that radiates to the jawbone, neck, or ear. Swelling of the face or gums, redness, and tenderness may also be present. In some cases, the abscess might rupture, resulting in a sudden release of foul-tasting and foul-smelling fluid in the mouth, accompanied by relief in pain. However, this doesn’t resolve the underlying infection and requires immediate dental attention.

The most common causes of dental abscesses are severe tooth decay, trauma to the tooth, gum disease, or failed dental procedures. 

When bacteria enter the tooth’s inner pulp chamber through a cavity or crack, they can lead to infection and abscess formation.


  • Clinical Examination: Dentists inspect for swelling, redness, or signs of pus.
  • X-rays: Identify the extent of the infection and its location.
  • Pain Assessment: Dentists inquire about the severity and duration of pain.


  • Drainage and Antibiotics: Draining the abscess and prescribing antibiotics to control infection.
  • Root Canal Therapy: Cleaning, disinfecting, and sealing the tooth’s pulp to remove infection.
  • Tooth Extraction: Removing severely infected teeth to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Pain Management: Over-the-counter or prescribed medications to alleviate pain and discomfort.


Preventing dental abscesses involves maintaining good oral hygiene, regular dental check-ups, and prompt treatment of cavities or dental issues. Practicing preventive measures, such as avoiding sugary foods, using fluoride toothpaste, and wearing mouthguards during sports, helps protect against potential causes of abscesses.

Understanding the signs, seeking immediate dental care for symptoms, and maintaining good oral health habits are crucial in preventing and managing dental abscesses, safeguarding both oral health and overall well-being.