Our bodies are pretty good at alerting us when something is wrong so we can fix it and feel better. The formation of an abscess is one of these helpful signals. An abscess in the mouth is a swelling that occurs when a pus-pocket forms. This dental infection is most often caused by bacteria that's present in plaque, that infects and makes its way into a tooth or gum.
If your dentists identifies one during an examination the first thing to do is relax, because it's actually a sign that your body is doing exactly what it's supposed to, playing defense! The swelling, while it can be painful for some patients, is a barrier between the infection and the rest of your body.
What causes a tooth abscess?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA) the cause of an abscessed tooth is an infection brought on by tooth decay, periodontal disease or a cracked tooth. These problems can let bacteria enter the pulp and can lead to pulp death. If the abscess is not treated, it can lead to a serious infection in the jaw bone, teeth and surrounding tissues. A tooth-related abscess (also called a periapical abscess) occurs inside the tooth when the nerve is dead or dying. The abscess will appear at the tip of the tooth’s root before spreading to the surrounding bone.