Symptoms and Signs of Abscessed Tooth

Doctor's Notes on Abscessed Tooth

An abscessed tooth is a condition in which the nerve of the tooth (the dental pulp) becomes infected. Infection often occurs when a dental cavity (tooth decay) goes untreated and spreads deep within the tooth. The bacteria that cause an abscess can spread down the length of the roots of the tooth and into the surrounding bone tissue. Infection may also occur from a broken or cracked tooth where the dental pulp is exposed to the oral environment.

Symptoms of an abscessed tooth include swelling, pain when chewing, a constant toothache or a dull and constant throb associated with the tooth, swelling of the glands of the neck, fever, bad breath, odd or bitter taste in the mouth, drainage from the gum tissue, inflamed or infected gums, or a small pimple on the gingival tissue (a sinus tract).

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.