Tooth Abscess: What It Is & What You Can Do About It

Tooth Abscess: What It Is & What You Can Do About It

Complications of Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess is a dental medical condition that is normally characterized by a pus-filled structure caused by a tooth infection. This dental condition results from poor dental health, leads to tooth decay, and if untreated during the initial stages of infection, it can spread to other areas of the body. When this condition gets severe, it may cause a patient to lose the infected teeth.

Causes of Tooth Abscess

As mentioned earlier, a tooth abscess results from poor dental hygiene, which leads to dental caries (cavities) or periodontal disease (gum disease). These are the most common causes of a tooth abscess. However, it can also be caused by a bacterial infection, either from a direct growth of the bacteria from an existing cavity in the gum or a bacterial infection occurring after dental work. Other causes of injury to teeth such as chipping or breaking of teeth can also lead to infections.


Symptoms of tooth abscess range from common ones to life threatening ones. The danger of ignoring the common symptoms is that they may become chronic; it is rare for the issues to resolve on their own.

The following list includes some of the common symptoms of a tooth abscess:

  • Draining pus from the mouth
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages
  • Pain when biting, chewing or clenching the tooth
  • Swelling of the tissues surrounding the tooth, including the jaws
  • Bad breath


Tooth abscess treatment is very important. This is because it is an infection that may affect the various body parts if not immediately diagnosed. However, treatment of this type of tooth condition may be divided into two categories: medical treatment and dental work.

Medical treatments for abscesses include treatment that ensures that your body functions normally regardless of tooth abscess infection. It generally involves the use of antibiotics prescribed by a medical practitioner to fight the bacteria causing the infection. Often, acetaminophen or ibuprofen is used to reduce pain and fever.

In addition to medical treatment, dentists have a crucial and substantial role in preventing or treating this dental condition. Dental work for patients who are diagnosed with tooth abscess may include the following:

  • Dental surgery to drain the area of infection
  • Removal of the infected tooth
  • Root canal to help repair the damaged tooth
  • Contacting a dentist from time to time for oral check-ups

Complications of Tooth Abscess

In most instances, a tooth abscess does not pose any danger to an individual. However, if left untreated, it may cause a life-threatening infection. Some of the complications that may arise as a result of a neglected tooth abscess may include:

  • difficulty in breathing
  • vomiting
  • fever and chills
  • nausea
  • severe swelling of the jaw
  • etc.

It is therefore important to ensure regular visits to a dentist to avoid tooth abscess infection.

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