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What is an abscessed tooth?

An abscessed tooth is a tooth where decay has damaged the inside part of the tooth called the pulp. Bacteria from the decay infect the pulp. Infection builds up inside the tooth which can lead to pain and swelling. If you suspect having an abscessed tooth, you should see your dentist. The tooth may be able to be saved with a root canal which is a filling of the root part of the tooth.

An abscessed tooth is an infection caused by tooth decay, periodontal disease or a cracked tooth. These problems can let bacteria enter the pulp (the soft tissue of a tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue) and can lead to pulp death. 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.

An abscessed tooth refers to a tooth that has pus formation in it or around it. You may notice a pimple like formation in the gum area, or a swelling in the gum or surrounding tissue, pain may or may not be present, you may have a bad taste in the mouth and may have a fever, etc... An Abscess can occur due to gum disease or a cavity that has infiltrated into the nerve and caused necrosis of the nerve, or due to trauma to a tooth. The extent and cause of the abscess will determine the course of treatment. Generally a patient is placed on antibiotics and the abscess is drained to bring the infection under control prior to definitive treatment.  

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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.