Abscessed Tooth Facts
An abscessed tooth is a dental condition in which the nerve of the tooth, also referred to as the dental pulp, has become infected. The infection usually occurs when a dental cavity (tooth decay) goes untreated and spreads deep within the tooth. The infection can also occur from a broken or cracked tooth where the dental pulp is exposed to the oral environment. The bacteria that cause an abscess can spread down the length of the roots and into the surrounding bone tissue. Dental professionals also consider an infection can also occur between the gum tissues and root of the tooth, which is called a periodontal abscess. Additionally, the dental nerve can be susceptible to injury leading to an infection after a crown or large filling are completed. The greater the amount of decay, the closer the dental treatment gets to the dental nerve, and the more likely the nerve can become compromised. Teeth that are directly subjected to dental trauma (for example, from a fall or from a hit by a projectile such as a baseball) are also prone to infection and should be immediately examined by a dentist.
Picture of an abscessed tooth.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/25/2015
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