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Dental Abscesses

Dental Abscesses | Healthier Me Today

Read more to learn about dental abscess symptoms! A dental abscess is also referred to as a tooth abscess. It is a preventable tooth condition where a bacterial infection causes pus to accumulate in areas around your teeth and your gums. The condition is painful and creates distressful dental abscess symptoms. There is a high risk of development for older adults, children, and adolescents without access to teeth cleaning products.

What Causes Dental Abscesses

If you are wondering, what causes dental abscesses – keep reading! The only cause for dental abscesses is an infection caused by bacteria. This bacteria varies from case to case. The bacteria enter the tooth and meet the dental pulp, which has many sensitive nerves protected by the tooth. Bacteria can enter through any space given (cavity, broken tooth, etc.) and causes inflammation to the gums.

The bacteria spreads and first develops because of bad dental hygiene, which leads to old cavities exposing the pulp to the bacteria. It is important to brush teeth a minimum of twice a day and floss the same amount. It should be more for people who wear braces as food can get stuck easier.

Cavities develop because of food that is trapped in between teeth. In addition, the mouth is a dry and moist area perfect for bacteria if there is space to grow. 

Dental Abscess Symptoms – What Causes Dental Abscesses

The dental abscess symptoms are unpleasant. These dental abscess symptoms include:

  • Throbbing pain in gums, jaw, or ear
  • Fever
  • Swelling in cheek or gums
  • Bleeding in your gums
  • Bad breath
  • Sensitivity to cold and hot, especially near the tooth that is infected
  • Pain when eating or swallowing

Dental hygiene is important to understand that just because there is a cavity or the dental pulp is exposed, it does not mean that there is an infection. However, the only way to know for sure is to see a dental expert.

Dental Abscess Diagnosis

If you suspect a tooth or gum infection, it is necessary to see your dentist right away for a dental abscess diagnosis. Teeth pain can be crippling, and if it is not taken care of can spread quickly. In addition, bacteria that enter the pulp and gums can easily go through the bloodstream. If you are not careful, a tooth infection can be fatal and land you in the hospital.

For a dental abscess diagnosis, your dentist will start by looking. They will likely start cleaning to see the area surrounding the infected tooth and gums. Then, they will move on to the teeth exam. They are likely to tap on your tooth with a metallic tool during this exam. If it hurts your gums, it is likely an infection. Your tooth does not have nerves and should not react to touch. However, if exposed to the pulp, even the slightest touch can affect the area.

IF your dentist suspects an infection, they will order X-ray imaging. These images are usually done on the same day in the office. The images take a picture of your jaw, nerves, and teeth. This can help detect if the pulp is infected and the area inflamed. 

If you are showing severe reactions and symptoms, like a swollen jaw or neck, your dentist may also ask for a dental CT scan to see if it is spreading. A CT scan will take images of the general area. 

Dental Abscess Treatment

There are a few ways that dentists and doctors can start dental abscess treatment. When there is an infection that creates pus, your dentist will need to drain the pus and prevent it from developing again.

Sometimes, it is possible to complete a root canal. If your tooth is primarily intact, your dentist can grind a space in your tooth while you are numb. After drilling your tooth and draining the pus, your dentist can see the pulp during the root canal. Using specialized equipment, they should clean, dry, and fill the area. To prevent our tooth from breaking, your dentist can order you a crown for your tooth as it will be sensitive after the procedure.

If a root canal is not possible, your dentist can pull your tooth and drain the area of bacteria. Although you won’t have a tooth, the ‘pulp’ will be dead, and the nerves won’t affect you anymore. If the dental abscess is in an area that is easier to locate, they can cut a small incision, drain the pus, and afterward use a saltwater mixture to disinfect the area.

If the bacteria has spread, it will be necessary to take antibiotics as it is dangerous and aggressive. It is rare, though, but it can be caught early if you regularly go to the dentist.

Preventing Abscesses

It is easier to prevent a dental abscess than to treat one. To prevent a tooth infection, you will need to practice proper dental hygiene. This means brushing your teeth for a minimum of 2 minutes, twice a day. The frequency is not the only important thing about brushing your teeth, though. You should reach the back of your teeth to get all the food and bacteria out.

Make sure to drink plenty of hydrating water to prevent a dry mouth. The saliva in our mouths acts as a protector and can decrease the chances of cavities. 

It is okay, though, to have cavities if they do not worsen! You will not know for sure, though, if you don’t seek regular dental care. You should go to your dentist a minimum of twice a year for cleaning and X-rays. If you are prone to the development of cavities, you should limit your sugar, as sugar that stays in your mouth can deteriorate your teeth.

Living with a Dental Abscess

In conclusion, a dental abscess is uncomfortable and requires specialized care. It is easier to prevent tooth infections than to treat and get rid of them. A dental abscess occurs when bacteria touches and infects the sensitive pulp when exposed. This pulp lives underneath your teeth for protection. When there are cavities, the pulp is no longer protected. Simple dental hygiene can prevent dental infections.


  1. Can my Dental Abscess go away on its own? Unfortunately, an abscess will not go away on its own! For access to be cured, you will need to receive treatment.
  2. Can a Dental Abscess be fatal? If an abscess is left for too long, it could result in fatal sepsis

Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment. Always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!