All About Dental Abscess

All About Dental Abscess

Do you know that a dental abscess is in fact a pocket of pus growing inside your teeth or gums? The abscess generally takes birth from a bacterial infection- normally one that has collected inside the soft pulp of the tooth. The dental abscess can occur at various portions of the tooth and due to plenty of reasons. 


  • Intense, continuous, and throbbing toothache that radiates to the jawbone, ear, or neck
  • Teeth become sensitive to cold and hot food/beverages
  • Severe pain while chewing or biting
  • Gums may start to bleed
  • Fever
  • Insomnia
  • Your face or cheek slowly and gradually appear swollen
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes can be found under your neck or jaw
  • A foul smell may come from your mouth 
  • Bad taste
  • You may face problems while you breathe or swallow

Types of Abscess

There are three categories of dental abscess:

  • Gingival abscess: The abscess just occurs in the gum tissue but does not harm your tooth or the periodontal ligament.
  • Periodontal abscess: This can be found in the supporting bone tissue structures of your teeth.
  • Periapical abscess: This abscess occurs in the soft pulp of your tooth.

What are the Causes?

  • Poor oral health- Bacteria takes entry either through a dental cavity or a small crack or a fracture in the tooth. This slowly and gradually reaches the root. The bacterial infection can give rise to swelling and inflammation at the tip of the root. This leads the abscess to develop.
  • Often having sugary items too – When you consume foods/drinks rich in sugar frequently, it can result in dental cavities. And then it can further develop into a tooth abscess.
  • Dry mouth- When you have a dry mouth, it can increase your risk of tooth decay. Dry mouth primarily occurs due to the side effect of a few medicines or aging issues.
  • Dental surgery- Complications while undergoing oral surgery can even be a principal cause.
  • Dental trauma- This is also one of the many reasons for a dental abscess.
  • Brushing and flossing vigorously- When you do these two oral activities very often, it can also lead to a dental abscess.


If you detect any kind of symptoms of a dental abscess, you should visit your dentist without any delay. 

  • Incision: Your dentist will make a small cut in the abscess to drain out the pus comprising bacteria. 
  • Treating a Periapical abscess: Root canal treatment is carried out to remove the abscess. 
  • Treating a Periodontal abscess: The dentist carefully drains the abscess and completely cleans the periodontal pockets. The surfaces of the tooth root are then smoothed out by your dentist. It is done through the process of scaling and planing below the gum line. 
  • Extraction: If the dentist can’t save your tooth at all, then it will have to be extracted.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter painkillers may work to decrease your pain temporarily. The dentist may also recommend a few antibiotics.


If kept untreated, an infection can gradually spread to your jaw and various parts of your head and neck, including your brain. It can further cause sepsis which can be life-threatening.

How to prevent a dental abscess?

Avoiding tooth decay is crucial to prevent a tooth abscess. Hence–

  • Drink fluoridated water.
  • Every day brush your teeth at least twice with fluoride-containing toothpaste.
  • Floss your teeth at least once every day. It will be best to floss before bedtime.
  • Try to rinse your mouth using an antiseptic mouthwash after meals. 
  • Remember to replace your age-old toothbrush every 3-4 months. And also change it once the bristles are starting to fray or wear down.
  • Consume healthy food. 
  • Try to reduce your sugary products and between-meal snacks.
  • Go for routine check-ups to your dentist for dental cleanings.

Get the Help you need!

You can get in touch with Signature Smiles if you want to receive the best oral exams and cleanings in Encino, CA. Our dentist in Encino goes above and beyond to offer our patients the best treatment for any of their dental complexity along with optimal comfort. We are just a call away.