A lot of people are tempted to think that they are experiencing an ordinary toothache when in actual terms, they have a tooth abscess. Realistically, what is an abscessed tooth?

what is an abscessed tooth

An abscessed tooth is a tooth infection. It is medically termed as periapical abscess. This infection usually occurs within the tooth and spreads through to the base/root of the tooth. This infection mostly begins from the pulp chamber of the tooth. Under normal circumstances, the teeth have natural protection and fighters that ward off invasion by bacteria. However, due to various reasons, the teeth may lose this fighting ability. This allows for the invasion of bacteria that establish territories in the pulp and cause havoc to the tooth.Their activities create an abscess in the tooth.Effects of their activities consist ofa discharge or pus of dead white blood cells, bacteria and debris of tissues. Their infection may stretch far, reaching to the base of the tooth and through to the teeth bone.

This usually affects the wisdom tooth as they harder to clean than the other kinds of tooth. They easily harbor bacteria that cause this complication. It is characterized by a feeling of immense pain which may cause victims to stay awake and agonize throughout the night –much worse than an ordinary tooth ache.

Most importantly, you should also note that a tooth abscess is not same as a gum abscess. The difference is in the origin of the infection and the appearance. Unlike tooth abscess, gum abscess originates outside the tooth (in the gum) and close to the root of the tooth. However, both of them are very painful experiences.

Tooth abscess are initially reversible and can be treated if discovered early. However, if it is not treated, it may lead to a complete destruction of the pulp. Such total destruction causes an irreversible tooth abscess.


In addition to bacterial invasion, there are quite a number of differing factors that cause a tooth abscess. Let’s take a look at some of these.


what is an abscessed tooth

Tooth decay is by far the most common cause of tooth decay. When tooth decay is not checked, it enlarges and extends its territories so wide and deep to the extent of reaching the pulp chamber. This results in pulp inflammation which results in the feeling of a tooth ache.


A tooth abscess may also be caused by some dental treatments. When a dental treatment is applied wrongly, it may trigger this infection. Especially, treatments like tooth hole filling are likely to cause this problem. When the dentist fills the holes in the tooth, the filling may reach or come too close to the pulp chamber which may cause irritations.


Tooth trauma is also among the various causes of this problem. How does a blow cause and abscess? Just as can lead to a broken tooth in some cases, a hard knock or punch on the chin or jaw has the potential of causing vibrations and irritations of the pulp within the teeth. It may as well hamper blood supply to the pulp chamber, hence, curtailing nutrients needed to strengthen antibodies for bacterial combat. Such an event may trigger a tooth abscess.



Tooth abscess symptoms include darkened tooth. As compared to other surrounding teeth, the abscessed teeth will have some black areas (spot) or will generally look browner than the remainder of the teeth.


Without the associated pain, most people wouldn’t bother about tooth abscess treatment. However, tooth the infection stretches as far, reaching to the tip of the tooth roots and thereby causing the foundation of the tooth to be shaky. This causes pains, especially when a person chews or even brushes the teeth.


The pus that is produced by the bacterial activities is likely to accumulate in the gum and cause swellings on the gum. It may burst open to release excessive pus. It is medically termed as “draining fistula”.


what is an abscessed tooth

A common symptom of abscessed tooth is odor in the mouth. This is due to the dead cells, bacteria and debris.


In addition to causing swellings in the gum, swollen jaws are severe tooth abscess symptoms.


Tooth abscess can be treated by doctors as well as individuals by using a tooth abscess home remedy. However, very severe and complicated tooth abscess must be surrendered to optometrists for treatment.

Treating abscess at home:

  1. Apply raw garlic to the teeth and gum as a remedy to this infection. Garlic has antibacterial properties that kill bacteria that cause in the infection.
  2. You may brush with clove oil as well to get rid of this infection. The bacteria abhor the oil. It hinders their activities subsequently terminate them.
  3. Likewise, you may brush with some peppermint oils as well or apply it to the teeth using the fingers.
  4. You can also rinse the mouth with salt solution as a relief for tooth abscess related pains.
  5. A natural or organic apple cider vinegar is equally as effective for this purpose. Rinse the mouth with a tablespoon of ACV for about 5minutes and spit it out. This is a perfect tooth abscess treatment as it disinfects the tooth and effectively helps to reduce swellings.

Prevention is always better than cure. To prevent tooth abscess symptoms and infections, you may use some mouth wash and antibiotics occasionally or daily as well as brushing properly.

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