All you need to know about Tooth Abscess

What is a Tooth Abscess?

Countless people have to deal with a dental abscess every year, an inflammation in the mouth. An abscess can form in the space between the gum and a tooth. Dental abscess also occurs at the root of a tooth. Then we are talking about a tooth root abscess. A tooth or tooth root abscess forms when a tooth becomes full of pus (pus). This means that the pus has no way to drain. In short, you could say that an abscess can form when the dental nerve is dying or dead.

Abscess Gums

A periodontal abscess (gum abscess) is the other type of abscess that can occur. If you have periodontitis  (advanced gum disease), you are at high risk of developing a gum abscess.

Tooth abscess and pain

There are nicer things in life than having a tooth abscess. This can cause quite a lot of pain. Also abscess can also lead to serious consequences if you wait too long to treat it. Any dentist will tell you that the state of your oral health affects your physical condition. Contact your Virginia family dentist as soon as possible for tooth abscess pain relief fast.

Do you think you have an abscess?

Then quickly make an appointment with your dentist for mouth abscess treatment. When dealing with an urgent tooth problem, always call the emergency dentist for help. It does not matter whether it is a tooth abscess, toothache or another dental problem. Virginia dental care has professional and experienced dentists and a team who can solve your dental problems quickly and adequately.

What Are the Symptoms and Signs of Tooth Abscess?

Knowing the symptoms and how to recognize a tooth abscess is extremely important. By having an abscess treated at an early stage, the damage to the teeth can be limited.

Below you can read what the symptoms of a tooth abscess are;

It is not wise to keep walking around with complaints. That is why it is advisable to have a dentist look at it as soon as possible:

  • Sharp, stabbing, throbbing and/or nagging pain that persists
  • Severe tooth or toothache elsewhere in your mouth
  • Sudden onset of fever or abnormally high body temperature
  • A bad taste in your mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
  • The tooth or molar is extra sensitive to hot or cold drinks/food or to air currents.
  • Swollen and red gums
  • Swelling of the upper or lower jaw
  • An open wound where fluid drains onto the gums
  • Pain when talking, chewing or when you move your jaw or mouth
  • Acute pain or a feeling of pain in the bone around a specific tooth
  • A feeling of general malaise
  • Constantly having the annoying feeling that something is wrong with the teeth.

If you are currently experiencing one or more of the above symptoms associated with a dental abscess, please contact your dentist as soon as possible.

When should I go to the emergency dentist?

Does a dental abscess cause your complaints, but you cannot immediately go to your own dentist? Then we advise you to quickly make an appointment with the emergency dentist.

As stated earlier, having an abscess on a tooth is a serious matter. Not being treated can even be harmful to your physical health.

Most common causes of tooth abscess

Various causes lead to dental abscesses in the short or long term. It is difficult to say how the course of an abscess is, whether it grows quickly or slowly, because it depends on the damage done.

The root cause

An abscess on a tooth or molar is often the result of tooth decay that has taken place for a long time. As a result, the abscess is in an advanced stage. A damaged tooth or molar with a crack in it or a piece of which has broken off can also be the cause of this mouth problem. Basically, the bottom line is that as soon as a tooth or molar is damaged, it can sooner or later lead to an abscess.

Gum problems such as gingivitis and periodontal disease are also among the main causes that can lead to tooth abscesses. If the said gum disease is not treated in time, the next phase is inflammation.

  • Gingivitis: gingivitis
  • Periodontosis: gingivitis in an advanced stage

The ignition course

Once the foundation is laid, inflammation has every chance to develop. For example, when a tooth has broken down, gaps are created around the tooth and in the tooth enamel. Food remains are left behind and the bad bacteria now have every chance to penetrate. These work their way through the enamel to the pulp (dental soft tissue with blood vessels and nerves), where the inflammation is formed.

If the inflammation is not stopped, it can spread further to the roots of the tooth. The inflammation can even spread to your jaw bone, which supports the affected tooth. But it doesn’t stop there! The inflammation can even affect the adjacent teeth and jawbone.

What to do with an inflamed tooth or molar?

Has your tooth or molar broken down in such a way that the pulp is exposed? And can’t go to your own dentist quickly or to the emergency dentist? What can you do yourself? There is a handy tool that you can use to protect your tooth until it can be treated.

You can purchase first aid kits for temporary fillings from pharmacies or online. This allows you to seal (seal) the resulting hole for a short period of time. This keeps the damage limited. You can also apply this when there is a crack in a tooth or molar. This way, you can ensure that no bacteria can slip in and start their harmful work.

What does a tooth abscess feel like?

All the above symptoms do not always accompany a tooth abscess. Likewise, not every abscess is the same, and the symptoms can vary.

But an abscess on a tooth or molar always causes swelling and excruciating pain. So until you can have your dentist take a look at it, you are on your own to relieve the symptoms and pain.

Tips & Home Remedies That Bring Relief From A Tooth Abscess

It is more than advisable to avoid ice-cold or very hot drinks or foods. Due to the large temperature difference, drinking or eating cold drinks, ice cream, tea, coffee, hot soup, etc., causes enormous pain. The same also applies to acidic or sugary drinks and foods.

Rinse your mouth with saline.

Rinse your mouth thrice a day with warm water in which ½ teaspoon of salt has dissolved. This disinfects the inflamed area and also relieves the pain. A handy fact: salt water is an excellent antiseptic (disinfectant) home remedy that can be used for any bacterial mouth infection.

Ibuprofen, paracetamol or other pain relievers

Ibuprofen, acetaminophen or other painkillers are your “best” weapons in the fight against the pain caused by a tooth abscess. An abscess is generally accompanied by swelling and inflammation. For this reason, it is best to ask the pharmacist for a painkiller that not only relieves the pain but also has an anti-inflammatory effect.

Garlic is a natural fighter

Garlic is a natural fighter against bacteria. The power is mainly in the juice of the raw garlic cloves. Squeeze 1 or 2 cloves and apply the released juice to the inflamed area with your finger. Clove oil is also another natural remedy that also comes in handy here.

Herbal tea

Herbal teas also help to ease the pain. Put the tea bag in a cup of water for a moment, remove it and gently place it on or against the inflamed area.

Floss gently

What you can do, at least if the pain and swelling is not so severe, is to very gently and gently floss the teeth in the inflamed area. This may seem risky and painful, but this is not so bad. Flossing is an effective tool. Removing plaque and food particles will keep the area from irritation and prevent the inflammation from spreading.

What if a tooth abscess is not treated

If a dental abscess is not treated quickly, it can cause many more problems. This is due to the fact that the inflammation continues to proliferate and spread, causing extensive damage to the jaw and teeth. This affects the surrounding teeth or molars and jaw bones in particular.

What are the dangers of abscess in the mouth?

As with any inflammation, regardless of its type, leaving it untreated will only make it more difficult. As a result, a hollow tunnel often forms in the tissue or in the bone. This ensures that the pus (pus) still gets a way out. Also called “sinus tract” or “fistula,” which you may be able to feel or see in your mouth.

Even if you don’t see such a tunnel, you will notice it because of the foul taste you get in your mouth caused by the discharge of the pus. It looks a bit like an inflamed pimple. While the draining of the pus is a good sign, remember that the inflammation is still there.

Cysts (bumps filled with fluid) can also form in the jawbone if the inflammation is not treated. Suppose that during the treatment, it appears that the tooth cannot be saved and must therefore be extracted, then the tooth or molar can come out with the cyst formed.

Potential physical harm in dental abscess

As described earlier, a tooth abscess is one of the most important examples of how the state of the teeth can affect the rest of the body. The inflammation originates in an area that lends itself perfectly to its further spread.

Below we have listed the main physical problems you could face if you do not take immediate steps to treat a dental abscess:

  • Spreads through the bloodstream to the brain, where it can form an abscess in the brain, with the risk that the patient may fall into a coma,
  • Spreads to the sinuses (sinuses) and causes inflammation there,
  • Does the heart disease cause bacterial endocarditis by having spread to the heart,
  • Causes Ludwig’s angina due to swelling of the entire face causing severe airway obstruction,
  • Difficulty breathing when inflammation spreads to the throat and neck
  • Causes inflammation in the body that can contribute to stroke and cardiovascular disease,
  • Causes the disease gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) due to the loss of a tooth(s) or molars due to the inflammation with associated problems with chewing and digestion,
  • Contributes to diabetes complications by weakening the immune system and the body’s control of blood sugars, causing high glucose levels,
  • Contributes to cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure by causing inflammation as the infection spreads through the bloodstream,
  • It affects fetal development in the womb, causing low birth weight or causing premature birth when the mother is battling the infection.

Unfortunately, the above examples are just a few examples of what an inflammation of the mouth or jaw can cause in the body. It is therefore important to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

What to expect from the treatment

Your dentist performs a dental check and looks at the inflamed area to determine its severity. He can then take an X-ray to see if there are any smaller abscesses in the inflamed tooth.

After determining the stage of the inflammation, the dentist makes an incision or hole in the abscess to relieve the pressure. Then the pus can drain. Next, you may be prescribed antibiotics to fight the infection.

The dentist can perform or advise a root canal treatment for that inflamed tooth if necessary. Or he can thoroughly clean your gums or even extract the specific tooth if it is beyond saving. Depending on the complexity of the treatment and the inflammation, the dentist may even refer you to an oral surgeon. For example, when it comes to an inflamed wisdom tooth.


If the inflamed tooth is really beyond saving because it is dead or severely damaged by tooth decay, the dentist has no choice but to extract (remove) it. In this way, you are sure that no new abscess formation can take place. The inflammation will therefore become much less quickly afterward and eventually disappear.

Find a Dentist

Finding a dentist in your area is not always easy if you do not have a permanent dentist. Dentists often have no place or no possibility to schedule an emergency appointment. It gets a bit more complicated if you’re walking around with a dental abscess or other dental problem that needs urgent attention, you don’t have a regular dentist, and you don’t know where to find an emergency dentist. This can make the situation worse in no time.

Tip!: Do you not have your own regular dentist, and do you still need help quickly? Then call Virginia dental care if you live in or near Arlington, VA.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Abscess

If your question isn’t listed in our FAQ section, don’t hesitate to contact us, we’re more than happy to help!

What is a dental abscess?

A dental abscess is a tooth or molar in which a cavity is filled with pus (pus). This tooth is damaged because it has broken off, cracked, or died. The pocket of pus can be in the tissue of or around the tooth, but it can also be the result of gingivitis (gum disease) or paradontosis (advanced stage of gum disease). This also leads to damage to the surrounding tissue and bone, which can lead to an abscess.

What Are the Symptoms of a Tooth Abscess?

The characteristic symptoms of a tooth abscess are generally swelling, pain, redness of the gums, a bad taste in the mouth and sometimes fever or similar complaints like those of the flu.

How Can I Relieve Pain From a Tooth Abscess?

While you wait for a visit to the dentist, pain relievers can help you control the pain. Ibuprofen is the pain reliever of choice for dental abscesses, but if you can’t take it for medical reasons, you can use paracetamol instead. Aspirin should not be given to children under 16 years of age.

If 1 painkiller does not relieve the pain, it may help to take both paracetamol and ibuprofen in the doses stated in the package leaflet. This is safe for adults but not for children under the age of 16.

It can also help to:

  • avoid hot or cold food and drink if this makes the pain worse
  • if possible, try to eat cool and soft foods using the other side of your mouth
  • using a soft toothbrush and temporarily not flossing around the affected tooth

These measures may temporarily relieve your symptoms, but you should not use them to delay seeking help from an emergency dentist.

What does the treatment of a tooth abscess consist of?

The dentist will first make a cut or a hole to allow the pus to drain and relieve the pressure. Sometimes prescribing antibiotics and possibly extracting the inflamed or dead tooth depending on the inflammation’s severity and the infection’s stage.

Why are antibiotics sometimes prescribed for the treatment of a tooth abscess?

An abscess is a form of bacterial inflammation. Antibiotics are used to fight bacterial infections. But it depends on the severity of the infection and whether an antibiotic is prescribed.

Is it possible to keep a tooth or tooth with an abscess?

It is indeed sometimes possible to save an inflamed tooth. If the inflammation has not yet reached the pulp of the tooth, the dentist will perform a root canal treatment to remove the pulp. But if the tooth or molar is so affected by the inflammation, then there is no other option than to pull the tooth or molar.

Is it normal for the area to remain swollen even after the pus drains?

This is normal even after an incision is made to drain the pus. But it is still wise to mention this to your dentist or family doctor to ensure nothing is wrong. After draining the pus, there may be another underlying cause or a problem that needs to be looked at.

Know what a tooth abscess is and how to deal with it.

A tooth or gum abscess is not a simple dental problem that can be solved once, two, or three. It is also not a condition that you can walk around with for too long. The information you have read about a dental abscess and treatment options will give you less to worry about. This way, you will also know why it is very important for your overall physical health to treat such an abscess quickly.

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