Tooth abscess

Tooth Abscess Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors

Tooth abscess is collection of pus in the inner part of tooth, usually due to bacterial infection.

What are the causes of tooth abscess?

Commonly tooth abscess occurs from crack or chip in the tooth or from an untreated tooth cavity, which allow entry of bacteria into inner tooth and start an abscess there. Bacteria gain entry into the pulp (the soft innermost part of tooth, which have rich blood supply, nerves and connective tissue) and form abscess. Once bacteria gain entry into pulp it induces an inflammatory response and when white cells attack the bacteria puss forms. Due to lack of space in the inner part of tooth, the pus is forced into a pocket and forms an abscess at the tip of root, which is called tooth abscess.

What are the signs and symptoms of tooth abscess?

Signs and symptoms of tooth abscess are:

Severe toothache in the affected tooth area, which is persistent and throbbing in nature.

Sensitivity of the affected tooth to cold and hot.

Affected tooth is sensitive to pressure of chewing and biting


Swelling in face and/or cheek

There may be inflammation (swelling and tenderness) of lymph nodes of jaw or neck.

There may be bad odor in mouth.

What are the risk factors of tooth abscess?

One of the common causes of tooth abscess is dental cavities and any factor that increases risk of cavity is risk factor for tooth abscess too. Risk factors of tooth abscess are:

Poor oral hygiene: inadequate dental/oral care is a risk factor for tooth abscess. Brush after every meal (preferably after eating anything), regular use of dental floss etc. are important for good oral/dental hygiene.

Diet with high sugar: foods rich in sugar such as soda, sweet etc. can increase risk of dental cavities and tooth abscess.

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Other medical conditions: various medical conditions can increase risk of tooth abscess, such as diabetes, and other diseases that reduce your body immunity can increase risk of tooth abscess.

When to see a doctor if you have tooth abscess?

You should see a doctor (dentist) at the earliest signs and symptoms (such as fever and swelling in your face, sensitivity to chewing, biting or hot and cold) of tooth abscess.

Tooth Abscess Symptoms and Causes

A tooth abscess is a sac of pus in the tissues of jaw bone at the root of the infected (bacterial infection) tooth. Tooth abscess can be of two types, periapical tooth abscess and periodontal tooth abscess. The tooth abscess is usually a bacterial infection of soft pulp of the tooth. Tooth abscess may occur in the apical region or in the periodontal (gum) region.

What are the symptoms of tooth abscess?

Symptoms of tooth abscess include specific to tooth as well as general symptoms of infection such as fever.

Fever (fever is a general symptom of any bacterial infection and tooth abscess being a bacterial infection develop fever)

Toothache (severe, persistent and throbbing in nature), which can be very severe that sleeping may not be possible. Toothache is considered second most painful condition, which is only after appendicitis (the most painful condition an individual can have)

Sensitivity of the affected tooth to hot and cold temperature as well as sensitivity to pressure (chewing and biting)
Swelling in check or face

Lymph nodes (of neck and sub-madibular lymph nodes) are swollen and tender

Bad breath or halitosis

On draining of the abscess (surgical draining or spontaneous rupture of the abscess), there is sudden relief from symptoms (mainly pain)

If you have any tooth abscess, consult your dentist immediately and get treatment for tooth abscess immediately and appropriately.

What are the causes of tooth abscess?

Tooth abscess (periapical tooth abscess) occurs when bacteria invade dental pulp. Dental pulp is the innermost area of tooth where there are blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues. Periodontal tooth abscess occurs when bacteria invade root of the tooth next to gum. The invasion of bacteria occurs mainly through dental cavities or through crack or chip in the tooth enamel. Infection leads to inflammation and severe pain.

If you suspect to have a dental abscess, consult your dentist immediately or visit and emergency department of nearby hospital. Because, delay in starting appropriate treatment will lead to severe symptoms and sufferings.

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3 thoughts on “Tooth Abscess Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors”

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