Abscess

Components of a tooth abcessA tooth abscess is a bacterial infection of the center (pulp) of a tooth. The main cause of an abscess is tooth decay that has penetrated the center of the tooth. Other causes may be trauma, cracks in the tooth, or routine dental work that is in close proximity to the pulp. The infection inside the tooth often spreads to the bone, causing swelling and pain in the surrounding area.

The symptoms of an abscessed tooth include the following:

  • Severe, continuous pain
  • Throbbing pain
  • Sharp or shooting pain
  • Pain when chewing
  • Sensitivity of teeth to hot or cold
  • Bitter taste
  • Bad breath
  • Possible fever
  • Swollen glands of the neck
  • Swollen gums

Root canal therapy can be performed to preserve the tooth and prevent further complications. This treatment entails the removal of the dead, infected tissue in the center of the tooth. The outer surface of the root remains intact while the inner canal space is disinfected and sealed with a filling material to prevent bacteria from re-infecting the tooth.