A tooth abscess is a painful and serious oral health concern. Marked by a pocket of pus caused by harmful bacteria, an abscess can form at the base of a tooth’s root. The most common causes of a tooth abscess are untreated tooth decay, cracked/chipped teeth, and old failing dental work. An endodontist treats abscessed teeth with root canal therapy.
Symptoms of Tooth Abscesses
When a patient develops an abscess, he or she might experience the following common symptoms:
- Throbbing toothaches that persist
- Sensitivity to cold and hot foods and beverages
- Discomfort when chewing or biting food
- Swelling in the neck and/or face
- Trouble swallowing and breathing
How a Tooth Abscess Forms
Abscesses form in the root systems of teeth when infection-causing bacteria enter the root canal. In healthy teeth, the root canal is protected from oral bacteria and debris. If a tooth is badly decayed or cracked, however, bacteria enter the root canal and infect its tissue.
The root canal is defenseless to bacteria, as it cannot fight off infection or self-heal. Without professional intervention, the infection in the root canal will spread. Untreated abscesses can infect adjacent oral tissue including bone.
Some abscessed teeth can be saved from extraction with root canal therapy. This treatment option removes infected tissue inside the root canal, a chamber that contains pulp and nerve endings deep inside a tooth.
Root canal therapy allows a person to regain comfort and oral function without having to lose his or her tooth. After the root canal is cleaned, it is sealed with a rubber-like compound to prevent bacteria from pooling inside the root canal in the future. Some patients might require restorations after root canal therapy to protect the outer structures of damaged and diseased teeth.
Our endodontist provides effective treatment for infected teeth. Call our practice today to reserve a consultation.