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What causes tooth abnormalities? 5 possible conditions

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


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.


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.

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See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.


Brittle Bone Disease (Osteogenesis Imperfecta)

Learn about brittle bone disease and what causes it. Find information on the types, symptoms, and treatment options.

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Rickets is a nutritional disorder that can develop if you do not get enough vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate. Rickets leads to poor functioning of a bone's growth plate (growing edge), softened and weakened bones...

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Acromegaly is a rare condition. It causes excess growth in the bones and soft tissues of the body. Children with the condition can grow to abnormal heights. They may also have an exaggerated bone structure that give...

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Celiac Disease (Gluten Intolerance)

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder caused by an immune reaction to gluten. Symptoms vary but can include arthritis, fatigue, and abdominal symptoms.

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Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome

Basal cell nevus syndrome is a group of defects caused by a rare genetic condition that can cause tumors in the jaw.

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