Dental abscess (collection of pus)

Mouth | Odontologie | Dental abscess (collection of pus) (Disease)


A dental abscess is an infection of the head or neck that begins as a tooth infection. Dental abscesses are often painful and filled with pus. The infection can originate as a result of poor dental hygiene, injury to the mouth, or medical conditions that affect the immune system.

The pain is continuous and may be described as extreme, gnawing, sharp, shooting, or throbbing. Putting pressure or warmth on the tooth may induce extreme pain. There may be a swelling present at either the base of the tooth, the gum, and/or the cheek, which can be alleviated by applying ice packs.

Causes and Risk factors

A person with a dental abscess has a collection of pus near a tooth, caused by a bacterial infection. Dental infections are usually caused by bacteria normally present in the mouth in controlled numbers. A dental abscess is more common in those with dental caries and periodontal disease.

A dental abscess can be a serious condition because the infection, particularly when left untreated, may spread and cause serious complications. Spread of the infection by local extension or through the bloodstream can lead to serious infections of the jawbone, brain, heart valves, or lungs. Therefore, a dental abscess should be immediately treated by a physician or dentist.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A dental abscess should be immediately treated by a physician or dentist. An acute abscess may be painless but still have a swelling present on the gum. It is important to get anything that presents like this checked by a dental professional as it may become chronic later.

Successful treatment of a dental abscess centers on the reduction and elimination of the offending organisms. This can include treatment with antibiotics and drainage. If the tooth can be restored, root canal therapy can be performed. Non-restorable teeth must be extracted, followed by curettage of all apical soft tissue. ...