Cosmetic Dentistry SA

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Tooth Abscess

Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess is an infection surrounding the root resulting from disease in the center of a tooth or the gum.

A tooth abscess can form as a result of:

  • Tooth decay
  • Trauma to the tooth
  • Gaps in the enamel which allow bacteria to infect the center of the tooth (the pulp), or
  • Gum disease.Infection invariably spreads from the root of the tooth to the bones supporting the teeth destroying it rapidly


  • The main symptom is severe pain which is continuous and may be described as sharp or throbbing.
  • Bad taste or smell in the mouth
  • General discomfort & fever
  • Pain on chewing or applying pressure to the tooth
  • Sensitivity of the tooth to hot or cold
  • Swollen glands in neck & face
  • A ‘Gum Boil’ may be seen on the gum adjacent to the affected tooth draining pus


  • The goals of treatment are to cure the infection and prevent further complications
  • If there is a severe infection, the tooth may be removed or surgery may be needed to drain the abscess
  • In such a case an implant can be planned as a future replacement option