What is a dental abscess?

A dental abscess is a condition in which a buildup of pus (abscess) forms in the area that holds the teeth in place (jaw), gums, or bone. It occurs due to a bacterial infection. This happens when an infection in the mouth is not treated at all or is not adequately treated. Tooth abscess is a common condition and can occur at any age. Especially many people experience an abscess on their gums throughout their lives. Symptoms include severe pain in the mouth and jaw, swelling of the gums or face, and possibly fever. Treatment involves removing the infected tissue from the tooth and draining the pus. Antibiotics may be required. Most affected people recover after treatment.

Risks of Developing a Dental Abscess

Dental abscesses are caused by bacterial infections in the mouth. These infections can spread to the gums, bone, and other tissues around the affected tooth. People with poor oral hygiene are more likely to develop a dental abscess. People with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or a weakened immune system, are more likely than others to develop a dental abscess.

Tooth Abscess Symptoms

The most common symptom of a dental abscess is a throbbing pain in the tooth and surrounding gums and bone. The pain comes on suddenly, gets progressively worse, and often radiates to the cheek, ear, or neck. The tooth may loosen.

The gums and face are usually swollen and red on the side affected by the abscess. In addition, the teeth may be extremely sensitive to heat and cold. Those affected may also have bad breath and fever. Difficulty swallowing or even breathing may occur much less frequently.


Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and physical examination results. An X-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan of the face can confirm the diagnosis.

Tooth Abscess Treatment

Pain can be relieved by taking paracetamol or ibuprofen. Treatment of a dental abscess requires draining the pus that has formed around the tooth. Sometimes the infection can be treated with root canal treatment. The affected tissue is removed from the inside of the tooth. In some cases, the tooth needs to be extracted. If the infection is severe, antibiotic treatment may be required.

What Kinds of Abscesses Occur in the Mouth Area?

In principle, abscesses are possible in the entire area of ​​​​the mouth and chin. If these occur as a result of inflammation in the mouth, for example in the chewing muscles, there can be significant restrictions on quality of life as everyday things like eating and drinking become a painful process.

A special case here is an abscess of the jaw, which, for example, is caused by inflammation of the jawbone and is distinguished by pain, difficulty in swallowing and swellings that become hot and red, depending on the affected area. For example, they occur when the gingiva is inflamed, when wisdom teeth are broken, and when complications arise with root tip suppuration, as well as in other dental diseases associated with inflammation in the mouth.

The biggest problem with such inflammation in the mouth is that the underlying pus comes out destroying the affected tissue. There is also a risk of pus getting into the vessels responsible for feeding the brain, especially in the upper jaw area. In this case, it can even be life-threatening. Accordingly, any inflammation in the mouth should be treated quickly by the dentist.

What Can Help Against Oral Abscess?

Swelling of the gums, more specifically, is a cavity in the mouth where tissue debris and pus accumulate in response to inflammation. Therefore, it is important for treatment that the pus can drain and the remaining wound is disinfected. At the initial stages of the formation of such an inflammation, the use of antibiotics has proven particularly effective. Antibiotics pull the pus out of the abscess cavity, allowing it to drain smoothly. Cleaning and hygiene should be very important when treating the wound.

View All