A dental abscess is a collection of pus that can form inside the teeth, in the gums, or in the bone that holds the teeth in place. It's caused by a bacterial infection. A tooth abscess is an infection inside the tooth itself, and an abscess at the end of a tooth, which is more commonly called a periapical abscess. If you think you might have a dental abscess, it’s really important to see your dentist as soon as possible, because abscesses don’t go away by themselves. Not only can they be very painful, but without prompt treatment, you could end up having to have your tooth extracted.
Where can you get a dental abscess?
You can get abscesses inside your tooth, in your jawbone, or in your gums (called a periodontal abscess). Wisdom teeth can be prone to infections and abscesses. You can also get them in your cheek, under your tongue or even in your throat. They’re usually called ‘dental’ abscesses even if they’re not actually in your tooth, just because they’re in your mouth and require a dentist’s care.
What is a dental abscess?
If visible, an abscess looks like a sore. It’s a pocket of pus that has gathered under the skin. They can be caused by a range of things, including injury, a pre-existing medical condition, or not looking after your oral hygiene properly. For as long as you have the infection, the pus will continue to build up, which is why it tends to get more painful. Eventually the abscess may burst, or it may need to be drained.