Dental Abscess


If the pulp tissue dies it invariably becomes infected by bacteria because it is warm, moist and is a source of bacterial nutrients. These bacteria can come from the decay or surprisingly enough by bacteria that occasionally can be found in the bloodstream. Once the pulp chamber is infected the bacteria multiply and the bacteria and the toxins they produce exit the tooth tissues at the tip of the root and cause an inflammatory response. White blood cells called into the area engulf the bacteria and kill them or produce enzymes and antibodies to kill them. The mass of dead white cells and bacteria is called an abscess.

This abscess starts locally but migrates through the tissues trying to drain into the mouth. This causes the gum to swell and eventually burst releasing pus. Before that happens it is can be exquisitely painful. The quicker you see your dentist the better. On occasion this abscess enters the tissues around the face, tongue, throat or neck and cause a red swelling, which is usually painful. See your dentist as soon as possible if this happens as there can be serious complications. High fever and feeling generally under the weather are other signs that need to be treated urgently! Don’t put it off!