What Happens During An Abscessed Tooth Emergency?

June 9, 2020

An abscessed tooth refers to a pocket full of pus caused by a bacterial infection. It is often accompanied by pain and discomfort as well as redness and inflammation of the gums. Notably, a tooth abscess can occur in different regions for different reasons. For instance, a periapical abscess occurs at the tip of the root while a periodontal abscess occurs inside the gums at the side of a tooth root. Of these two types of abscesses, periapical abscess stands out as the most common one. Read on to learn more about it.


A periapical tooth abscess can be caused by an untreated dental cavity, prior dental work or injury. Dentists treat it by first draining the pus inside it. They then treat the infection that caused it in the first place. In some cases, they may save the affected tooth through a root canal treatment. In severe cases, they may be forced to remove the affected tooth. Note that leaving a tooth abscess untreated can easily leady to life-threatening complications. That explains why you must see a dentist as soon as you suspect you have a tooth abscess.

Symptoms of Abscessed Tooth

Unlike many gum diseases like gingivitis, abscessed tooth comes along with notable symptoms. This means you can take action and see a dentist before the condition worsens. Common tooth abscess symptoms include:

  • Sensitivity to cold and hot temperatures
  • Fever
  • Sensitivity to the pressure of biting or chewing
  • Throbbing toothache that radiates to the neck, ear or the jawbone
  • Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
  • Foul smell
  • Swelling around the neck and on the face

When To Be Worried

Any of the symptoms mentioned above should get you concerned. Rush to the emergency room though if you suddenly have a fever and swelling on your face or you have trouble breathing and swallowing. These symptoms indicate that infection has spread deep into your jaw and the surrounding tissues.

Causes of Abscessed Tooth

A tooth abscess and particularly periapical tooth abscess can only occur once bacteria attacks your dental pulp. The pulp refers to the deepest part of your tooth. It contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. The bacterium causing abscess enters through a crack or chip in the tooth or through a dental cavity before spreading all the way to the root. Once the infection spreads, it causes inflammation and swelling at the tip of the root.

Risk Factors and Complications

Poor dental hygiene, diets that are rich in processed sugars and dry mouth are all risk factors that increase an individual’s risk of tooth abscess. Note that tooth abscess cannot go away on its own without treatment. The abscess may rupture, which means the pain may decrease significantly. You will still treatment for the infection that caused the abscess in the first place.


Avoiding tooth decay is extremely essential when it comes to preventing tooth abscess. Be also keen on your dental hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice daily, floss regularly and always use fluoridated drinking water. Remember to also go for a dental check-up at least once every two months.

This page article was written by Real Smile Dental Marketing, it may not express the views of the dentists. For an expert consultation, please schedule an appointment.