An abscessed tooth refers to an infection at the tooth’s root, usually caused by untreated tooth decay. The infection causes a pus-filled sore on your gums that can cause various symptoms, including tooth pain. Treatment of a tooth abscess isn’t something you can handle at home, so it’s important to seek emergency dental services to prevent the infection from spreading.

How a Tooth Abscess is Diagnosed

A dentist would examine the tooth that has developed an abscess and take X-rays to establish the severity of the infection. They may also do a tapping test to determine whether the tooth is sensitive to pressure. A dentist may occasionally send a patient to a specialist for additional assessment and care, such as an endodontist, if necessary.

Consequences of an Abscessed Tooth

One of the bigger consequences of an abscessed tooth is that the infection may spread to other areas of the mouth or body. If you think you may have a tooth abscess, it’s crucial to get dental help right once.

Gum abscess versus tooth abscess

An abscess that arises in or around a tooth is known as a tooth abscess and typically results from a bacterial infection. A gum abscess is a pus-filled pocket that develops in the gums as a result of bacterial infection in the periodontal tissue. Each is treated differently and it’s crucial to have a dentist’s appropriate diagnosis.

When to seek dental care for an abscessed tooth

You should visit a dentist right away if you notice any signs of a tooth abscess. Some of the signs include

  • Severe toothache
  • Swelling of the face or jaw
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.

A dental abscess may become more challenging to cure and more likely to cause complications the longer it goes untreated.

Experiencing any of the above dental pain? Be sure to schedule your free consultation with us today.



The most obvious sign of a dental abscess is the pocket of pus that appears on the gums. It usually looks like a pimple, and it can be accompanied by other symptoms including:

1. Throbbing or shooting pain from the affected tooth

2. Bad breath

3. Fever

4. Swollen lymph nodes

5. Irritated gums

6. Difficulty eating, speaking, or swallowing

Additionally, untreated abscessed teeth can lead to serious complications. As the infection progresses, it can cause nausea, vomiting, chills, and diarrhea. In extreme cases, the infection could obstruct airways or spread to other parts of the body, including the heart, lungs, and brain. Though it’s rare, an untreated dental abscess can result in death.

Dental abscesses usually occur due to untreated tooth decay or gum disease. However, some people may develop abscessed teeth due to underlying medical conditions and weakened immune systems.

Though you can temporarily treat an abscessed tooth by alleviating pain with over-the-counter painkillers, it’s important to see a dentist about an abscessed tooth. Even if the pain subsides, the underlying infection must be drained and treated by a dentist to prevent the infection from spreading.

Of note, if the abscessed tooth ruptures before you can get to a dentist, try a warm salt water rinse to keep the infection stable and encourage the wound to drain. Seek emergency dental services as soon as possible to have the area properly treated.

The only person with the skills to permanently treat an abscess tooth is a dentist. Professional abscessed tooth treatment involves carefully draining the wound via a root canal. Your dentist will cleanse the area and remove any damaged tissue. It’s likely that you will require a root canal or tooth extraction to properly handle the abscessed tooth.

When the pulp inside a tooth becomes infected and a pocket of pus forms, the result is an excruciating condition known as an abscessed tooth.

An abscessed tooth needs urgent dental care because it won’t heal on its own. If the infection is not treated, it may progress to other major health issues.