Emergency Dentistry

What Are Dental Abscesses: Causes, Symptoms

Emergency Dental Abscess Treatment

Introduction to Dental Abscesses – Definition, Causes and Symptoms

A dental abscess is a collection of pus that forms in and around the teeth due to an infection. It can be caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses. In most cases, the source of the infection is plaque buildup on the teeth which prevents normal drainage from occurring. The abscess can occur at any point in the oral cavity but is most commonly found on the root of a tooth.


  • Poor oral hygiene: Not properly brushing and flossing teeth can lead to plaque buildup, which can cause an infection in the gums or tooth root leading to an abscess.

  • Tooth decay: Cavities form when bacteria eat away at the enamel of a tooth, creating pockets that are prone to becoming infected.

  • Cracked or broken teeth: Trauma to the teeth can expose the pulp of the tooth, allowing bacteria to enter and cause an infection.

  • Gum disease: Bacteria in plaque can spread to form gingivitis and periodontal disease, leading to pockets in the gums which are prone to infection.


Signs and Symptoms of Dental Abscesses

  • Pain: Dental abscesses often cause localized pain in the affected tooth or gum area. The pain can range from mild discomfort to severe, throbbing pain.
  • Swelling: Swelling around the affected area is a common symptom of a dental abscess. It can be accompanied by redness and tenderness.
  • Sensitivity: The tooth may become sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, causing pain or discomfort when consuming hot or cold liquids or foods.
  • Fever: In some cases, a dental abscess can lead to a low-grade fever, indicating an infection in the body.
  • Bad breath: An unpleasant odour from the mouth, despite regular oral hygiene practices, can be a sign of a dental abscess.
  • Swollen lymph nodes: The lymph nodes near the neck or jaw area may become swollen and tender due to the body’s immune response to the infection.
  • Difficulty opening the mouth: If the infection and swelling are severe, it may become challenging to fully open the mouth or move the jaw.
  • Visible abscess: In certain cases, a dental abscess may be visible as a white or yellowish lump filled with pus on the gums or near the affected tooth.

Complications of Dental Abscesses

Left untreated, a dental abscess can lead to more serious complications such as sepsis and other life-threatening illnesses. A spreading infection can also affect the jawbone and nearby teeth. In very rare cases, an abscess can cause a hole in the skull or even death.


Treatment Options for Dental Abscesses

  • Drainage: The primary treatment for a dental abscess involves draining the pus and removing any dead tissue. This can be done through surgical means, such as an incision and drainage procedure, or through non-surgical methods.
  • Antibiotics: In cases where the infection is severe or has spread, antibiotics may be prescribed to control the infection and prevent further complications.
  • Pain relief: Pain relievers, such as over-the-counter medications or prescription painkillers, may be recommended to manage discomfort during the healing process.
  • Dental procedures: Depending on the extent of the abscess and the underlying cause, additional dental procedures may be necessary. This can include root canal therapy, tooth extraction, or other dental treatments to address the underlying issues.
  • Hospitalization: In rare cases where the infection is severe and has spread to other parts of the body, hospitalization may be required for more intensive treatment and monitoring.

Remember, seeking immediate medical attention from a dentist or emergency dental care provider is crucial to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment of a dental abscess. Prompt treatment can help alleviate symptoms, prevent complications, and restore your oral health.


Prevention of Dental Abscesses

The best way to prevent a dental abscess is to practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly, as well as visiting your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings. Additionally, avoiding sugary snacks, drinks and tobacco products can also help reduce your risk of developing an abscess. If you do experience any signs or symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent further complications from occurring.


How Much Does Dental Abscesses Treatment Cost?

The cost of treating a dental abscess varies depending on the severity of the infection, the treatment required, and the location. It’s best to consult with a dentist to get an accurate estimate of the cost.



Dental abscesses are painful and can cause serious health issues if left untreated. The best way to prevent them is by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist for regular check-ups. If you do experience any signs or symptoms of an abscess, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Good oral hygiene is key to avoiding dental abscesses and other serious dental issues. By following a healthy routine, you can help keep your mouth healthy and avoid any unnecessary complications. Remember to brush, floss and visit your dentist regularly!

The information provided above is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak with your healthcare provider before making any decisions regarding your health.

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If you are in need of an emergency dentist or have any questions about your oral health, Don’t hesitate to call Amitis Dental Studio. Our experienced and friendly team is ready to assist you with any concerns you may have.

Contact us today at (07) 3130 2133 to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards achieving a healthy, beautiful smile!