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Abscessed Tooth

Abscessed Tooth

An abscessed tooth is a tooth that has a pocket of pus in the tissues around or beneath it. A bacterial infection or gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis) may cause the bone surrounding the tooth to dissolve and an abscess to form.

Symptoms of an abscessed tooth include pain, swelling, and redness in the gums; a bad taste in the mouth; and fever.

An abscessed tooth is usually treated with:

  • Antibiotics, to destroy the bacteria causing the infection.
  • Drainage of the infection.

If the pulp of the tooth is infected, root canal treatment will be done to remove the infected pulp and try to save the tooth. If root canal treatment is not successful, the tooth will be removed (extraction).

Current as of: January 24, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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