Abscesses are pockets of pus formed from the body attempting to wall off and contain an infection, usually caused by bacteria. Pus is made up of white blood cells the body sends to fight the infection, dead bacteria, fluid, and other debris. Abscesses can form in any part of the body.
Types of abscesses that form in the mouth include:
Abscesses can spread into the surrounding bone, causing pressure and pain in and around the tooth.
Anything that damages the tooth surface or gums may allow bacteria to enter the tooth or its surrounding tissues and start an infection that could result in an abscess. Unless treated early, the infection can spread, and eventually, the body may form an abscess. There are multiple reasons for an infection and a tooth abscess to form, but the most common factors that lead to disease and tooth abscesses include:
Tooth abscesses do not always cause pain and may be diagnosed by an X-ray or dental exam. However, pain will usually be present, ranging from slight to extreme. At times, you may notice swelling or a bad taste in your mouth, depending on the size and location of the abscess. If you are suffering from pain in your mouth or jaw, you should see your dentist to determine the cause. To diagnose the problem, your dentist will typically examine and take X-rays of the area. If an abscess is present, the dentist may be able to see swelling or drainage, and it will usually be seen on the X-ray image.
If you are experiencing the following symptoms, then you may have a tooth abscess and should see your dentist as soon as possible. Tooth abscess symptoms include:
A tooth abscess can form when there is tooth decay. It can also form when a tooth is chipped, broken, or injured. When there are openings in the tooth’s enamel, bacteria can enter the tooth and infect the pulp of the tooth. Infection can then spread from the root of the tooth to the bones that support the tooth. An abscess can also form around the tooth from gum disease.
No, a tooth abscess will not go away on its own and requires retreatment. If you do not treat a tooth abscess, then the infection may spread to your jaw and areas of your head and neck.
Tooth abscess signs and symptoms may include throbbing pain in the affected tooth, and this pain can appear suddenly and get gradually worse.
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