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What is a tooth abscess?

A tooth abscess is an infection of the tooth. When bacteria from a cavity reaches the inside part of the tooth, the tooth becomes infected. The infection will build up inside the tooth and spread to the end of the root and surrounding area. The buildup of infection (pus) causes swelling and pain. An abscessed tooth can be treated with antibiotics and root canal or extraction. See your dentist if you suspect a tooth abscess. Your dentist can advise you what would be best to treat your abscess.

An abscessed tooth is an infected tooth. Dr. Maria Lopez Howell explains how abscessed teeth are treated and restored.


A tooth abscess is an infection emanating from the root portion of the tooth to the surrounding bone and/or gum tissue. Often caused by tooth decay and/or gum disease, these infections can be quite painful, or the complete opposite -- silent with no pain or signs of the infection visible. This is one of the important reasons for regular dental checkups and digital dental radiographs (digital x-rays). A chronic tooth abscess can not only result in the loss of teeth, but can also lead to more serious medical problems affecting heart, brain, lung and other organ functions. Studies have shown the same bacteria present in a dental abscess also in the plaques inside the linings of the arteries around the heart. 

An abscess in a tooth is an infection which spreads from the root canal of the tooth to the tissues around the end of the root. It can cause swelling and pain. It may be treated by root canal treatment and antibiotics may be prescribed before the procedure to improve the chances of success. The other option is to extract the tooth.

 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.