Why Dental Abscess Is A Concern

Our mouth is home to colonies of bacteria, some which can cause infection due to tooth decay, periodontitis, or an injury. When we have an infection in our mouth, it can present itself as an abscess. Three types of an abscess can form in our mouth, and depending on which one we have determines the kind of treatment we get.

So what is an abscess and why should we be concerned about it? Let us find out first, what the three different types of abscess are and where they form.


Essentially an abscess is a swelling area with pus which becomes more swollen when the discharge can’t be drained. Where the abscess is located defines the kind of abscess you have and the treatment option a dentist proceeds with. As mentioned before, there are three types, and they are

  • Gingival Abscess – located only in the gum tissue and has no connection to the tooth or periodontal ligament.
  • Periodontal Abscess – is located in the tissue supporting the bone of the tooth, between the tooth and gum.
  • Periapical Abscess – begins in the soft pulp of the tooth and then roots itself at the tip of the tooth’s root. (Serious infection can then spread to the surrounding bone supporting the tooth.)

All three abscess cause pain and sensitivity, and if it is not treated right away, we can run the risk of having a prolonged infection or the spread of the infection.


When a patient has periodontitis, bacteria infect the gums causing them to become inflamed and can even make the tissue surrounding the tooth separate from the tooth. A periodontal pocket is a gap that forms from the periodontal ligament detachment from the root of the tooth. In that gap, bacteria can build up forming a periodontal abscess. Another way is through gum damage.

As for periapical abscess, bacteria enters the inside of the tooth through the cracks in the tooth or tooth decay. If tooth decay goes untreated, it can penetrate the dentine and into the soft pulp of the tooth. This allows bacteria to travel and down to the tooth’s root, as well as, the surrounding bone creating infection and for a periapical abscess to form.

Common Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of an abscess we experience are

  • Pain
  • Sensitivity to foods and beverages, cold or hot
  • Swelling
  • Redness in the gums
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Fever

If you are experiencing some symptoms of an abscess, don’t ignore it contact your dentist to treat the infection in your mouth and prevent the spread of infection. Your dentist will examine your teeth to determine the best treatment for you.


Various treatment options are depending on the type of abscess and the severity of the infection. Common treatments dentist use to treat an abscess are

  • Antibiotics to help with the infection caused by bacteria.
  • Drainage of the pus along with cleaning the infected area thoroughly especially if it is a periodontal abscess. The periodontal pocket will be cleaned and tooth to be smoothed out to prevent further infection.
  • Root canal treatment, if it is a periapical abscess, will need to be performed to remove damaged tissue from the pulp then filled with a root filling to prevent future infections.

Even if the pus is drained, you still want to visit the dentist to get the infection treated to prevent further infection to the tooth or gums.

Practicing good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist will help maintain your smile and determine dental problems. Whether you are feeling symptoms of an abscess or it’s time for your annual dental check-up, contact your dentist today. To make an appointment, you can call us at 801-747-8000, or you can fill out our appointment form.



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