Dental Abscesses

Updated: Dec 18, 2018


These can be painful and uncomfortable and be caused by a number of things.


Does your tooth seem painful? Is your gum sore and inflamed? If so you could have an infection/abscess. An abscess is caused by a buildup of bacteria which, when multiplying, starts to irritate the gum and jawbone surrounding the teeth.


There are two types of abscess, a Tooth Abscess and a Gum abscess.

  • Tooth Abscess. This is caused by a dead tooth. This is where the nerve inside the tooth has died causing the surrounding tissues to decay, a perfect breeding ground for bacteria

  • Gum Abscess. This is when the bacteria collects under the gum next to a normal tooth. As the nerve of the tooth is fine and there is no decay the tooth itself is absolutely fine. So the infection is actually in the gum.

Antibiotics are nearly always prescribed by your dentist in the event of an abscess to clear up the initial infection. However in the case of a tooth infection, if the cause of the infection is not determined, it will probably come back! Your dentist will advise after clinical investigation what further treatment is required.


Whilst these infections are painful, not all infections can cause pain, making it very difficult for you to know there is anything wrong!


Gum disease, otherwise known as periodontitis, because it doesn’t cause you any pain, can often go undiagnosed and untreated, unless you go routinely to your dentist.


As plaque builds up at the bottom of the teeth next to the gum line, it needs to be brushed and flossed away on a daily basis. Failure to do this can turn to bacteria which attacks the gums. Left untreated it ultimately affects the bone holding the teeth in place. It is thought that upto 80% of the population will suffer with gum disease on some level at some point. Of these upto 20% will eventually lose teeth if left untreated.


For further information or advice contact College Street Dental Centre in Petersfield, Hampshire on 01730 263180

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