A dental abscess is a pocket of infected matter that develops as a result of a bacterial infection. It should be considered a dental emergency because it can turn into a life-threatening condition if it is not treated. If you think you have developed a tooth abscess, please contact our emergency dentist immediately: (02) 9158 6211. In this article, we are going to outline tooth abscess symptoms and what can be done about an abscessed tooth.

What Are The Different Types Of Dental Abscesses?

A dental abscess can form in different parts of a tooth:

  • Periapical abscesses develop at the tip of your tooth
  • Periodontal abscesses develop in the gum next to the tooth’s root. It can also spread into the surrounding gum and bone
  • Gingival abscesses develop on the gums.


Tooth Abscess Symptoms: Signs To Look Out For

The most common dental abscess symptom is intense, throbbing pain around your tooth or in your gums. The pain begins suddenly and becomes progressively worse. If you feel excruciating pain, please contact an emergency dentist right away


Other common tooth abscess symptoms include

  • Pain that becomes more intense when you lay down
  • Pain that spreads into your ear, jaw and neck
  • Facial swelling and redness
  • More pain when you bite or chew
  • Loose or discoloured teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A bad taste in your mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever 


In the event that the abscess ruptures, you should experience immediate pain relief. You will also have a bad taste in your mouth.


Tooth Abscess Symptoms: When Complications Occur

If you suspect you have a dental abscess, it is important that you make an appointment with an emergency dentist. Doing so could help you to avoid a dangerous dental emergency, even if the abscess does rupture.

If you do not treat a dental abscess, it can develop into a life-threatening condition that extends beyond a dental emergency. It is possible for the infection to spread into your neck and head, and in some cases, it can lead to sepsis. If your dental abscess is accompanied by any of these symptoms, you must go to an emergency room immediately:

  • Facial swelling
  • Problems swallowing
  • Problems breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Confusion
  • A high fever

If any of these symptoms present, you need immediate treatment.

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If the abscess develops near the maxillary sinus, which are the spaces behind your eyes and cheeks, an opening could develop between your sinus and the tooth abscess, leading to an infection in your sinus cavity.

People who have compromised immunity are at greater risk of developing infections.


If you have a weak immune system and suspect you have an abscess, you should seek immediate treatment for a dental emergency.


What Are The Risk Factors For A Tooth Abscess?

A tooth abscess could develop in anyone at any time, but there are some factors that could increase your risk:


Inadequate oral care

Not brushing and flossing twice a day and not visiting your dentist regularly can lead to dental health problems. Untreated tooth decay and gum disease can leave you susceptible to tooth abscesses.


Dry mouth

Having a dry mouth can compromise your oral health. A dry mouth can develop as a result of ageing or because of certain medications you are taking.


Impacted teeth

Sometimes an abscess can form on or around a tooth that has not erupted fully.



Injuries to your mouth, teeth or gums can lead to the development of a tooth abscess.



Patients who are undergoing radiation or chemotherapy may be more susceptible to dental abscesses.


How Is A Tooth Abscess Treated?

Even if you think the abscess has burst, you must still visit your dentist, who will make sure all the infected material has been drained out. Your dentist will probably take an x-ray to get a better look at the location of the abscess.


Draining the abscess

The infected material will need to be drained out, and the affected area will be cleaned with saline solution.


Removing the foreign object

If the abscess has formed as a result of a foreign object, this will need to be removed.


Root canal treatment

If the abscess has developed as a result of a problem with your tooth, you might need a root canal treatment to save your tooth.


Tooth extraction

In some cases, it is necessary to extract the tooth before the abscess is drained.



Your dentist will probably prescribe painkillers and antibiotics to clear the infection. Antibiotics are often prescribed when the infection has spread beyond the abscessed area.


How To Prevent A Tooth Abscess

Following good dental hygiene practices may help you to prevent the development of dental abscesses as a result of tooth decay.


To do this, you should:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste
  • Floss between your teeth and below your gum line every day
  • Avoid smoking
  • Visit your dentist twice a year to check for early signs of tooth decay
  • Limit your intake of sugary foods


For more information on tooth abscess symptoms or for immediate assistance with a dental emergency, please contact our practice now: (02) 9158 6211.



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