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Understanding the Pain Associated with a Dental Abscess

Posted on 5/10/2017 by Janie Scholes
A teenage girl suffering from a dental abscess.
A dental abscess is an infection that occurs within the root of the tooth. It is a serious problem that, untreated, can lead to severe health consequences.

One of the most common symptoms of an abscessed tooth is tooth pain.

How Does an Abscess Occur?

An abscess is an infection in the root of a tooth that occurs when bacteria enters the tooth and attacks the pulp. As the bacteria multiply, the infection grows, and it attempts to spill out of the root of your tooth an into the jawbone. A sac forms to contain the infection, your body's attempt to protect itself.

What Causes the Infection?
Dental abscesses are often the result of tooth decay. They can, however, also be the result of gum disease or dental trauma. Essentially, if the enamel of your tooth is compromised down to the pulp, bacteria have the perfect opportunity to climb inside and take hold.

Other Symptoms of an Abscess

While pain is the most common symptom of a dental abscess, they can sometimes occur without any pain at all. Pain is also one of many symptoms to be on the lookout for:

•  Fever
•  Swelling in your upper or lower jaw.
•  Tooth sensitivity.
•  Bitter taste.
•  Bad breath.
•  Feeling ill or otherwise unwell.
•  An open, draining sore on the side of your gums.

Diagnosing and Treating a Dental Abscess

Only your dentist can diagnose a dental abscess. Along with a thorough oral exam, X-rays are needed to examine the roots of your teeth as well as your jawbone. Once diagnosed, a treatment plan can be developed.

Usually, the treatment of choice is a root canal, which allows the preservation of your natural tooth. Your dentist drills into the tooth, removes the pulp, drains the abscess, cleans and disinfects the tooth, fills it and caps it with a crown, sealing out new bacteria and protecting your tooth from further damage.

If you are experiencing tooth pain (with or without any other symptoms), it is important that you don't ignore it. Contact our office right away to schedule an appointment.

Scholes Periodontics & Implants in Chandler, AZ
Scholes Periodontics & Implants
Dr. Scholes
595 N Dobson Rd B#34
Chandler, AZ 85224

O: (602) 900-1609
F: (480) 786-5694

Monday: 9AM–3PM
Tuesday: 7AM–4:30PM
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Scholes Periodontics and Implants, 595 N Dobson Rd #34
Chandler, AZ 85224, (602) 900-1609,, 5/25/2024, Associated Words: Dental Implants Chandler AZ,