What Causes Tooth Abnormalities?

Conditions list medically reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA

A tooth abscess happens when a tooth fills with pus and other infected material. This occurs after the center of a tooth becomes infected with bacteria. It’s typically a result of tooth decay or a broken or chipped tooth. Bacteria can seep into... Read More

What Is a Tooth Abscess?

A tooth abscess happens when a tooth fills with pus and other infected material. This occurs after the center of a tooth becomes infected with bacteria. It’s typically a result of tooth decay or a broken or chipped tooth. Bacteria can seep into the tooth’s center (pulp) when the tooth’s enamel is broken.

After the tooth is infected, pus collects inside the tooth and causes swelling and pain commonly known as a toothache. Without proper attention, the infection can spread from the pulp and out to the bones supporting the teeth

Symptoms

Pain is the main symptom of a tooth abscess. Other symptoms may include:

  • sensitivity to hot or cold
  • pain when chewing
  • bitter taste in the mouth
  • swollen or red gums
  • bad breath
  • fever
  • swollen glands in the neck
  • swollen upper or lower jaw

In a case where the tooth’s root dies, the pain will stop. However, the infection could continue to the supporting bones and create serious problems.

Treatment

If you can’t see your dentist immediately, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers or warm salt-water rinses to ease the pain and provide temporary relief.

Only your dentist can treat a tooth abscess. Your dentist’s main goal will be to save the tooth by draining the abscess and ridding the mouth of infection. Antibiotics may be given to fight the infection. A root canal may be needed in order to save the tooth. If the tooth cannot be saved and the infection is serious enough, the tooth may need to be removed. If serious enough, you might be hospitalized to prevent the infection from causing more intense problems.


5 possible conditions

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose. Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.

Conditions list medically reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA