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Abscessed Tooth


An abscessed tooth is a tooth that has a pocket of pus in the tissues around or beneath it. A bacterial infection or gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis) may cause the bone surrounding the tooth to dissolve and an abscess to form.

Symptoms of an abscessed tooth include pain, swelling, and redness in the gums; a bad taste in the mouth; and fever.

An abscessed tooth is usually treated with:

  • Antibiotics, to destroy the bacteria causing the infection.
  • Drainage of the infection.

If the pulp of the tooth is infected, root canal treatment will be done to remove the infected pulp and try to save the tooth. If root canal treatment is not successful, the tooth will be removed (extraction).

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerSteven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry
Last RevisedJanuary 24, 2013

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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