A tooth abscess occurs when there is decay in a tooth that hasn’t been properly or timely treated. It is also sometimes caused by a break or crack in a tooth, where bacteria can enter the pulp of the tooth, causing infection. The result is a painful, pus-filled area of the tooth that needs immediate treatment. Without proper treatment, the risk of infection spreading to other teeth or even the facial bones becomes high. See a doctor if it becomes worse.
Call your dentist immediately if you suspect a tooth abscess. The infection can become serious quickly, and it's important to start treatment as soon as possible. Symptoms of a tooth abscess include sensitivity to cold or hot foods, a throbbing toothache, swelling along your jaw line and fever.
Rinse with warm salt water while waiting to be treated by your dentist. A warm salt water rinse can be soothing and help rinse away additional infection-causing bacteria.
Take over the counter pain relievers and fever reducers to ease your symptoms.
Visit your dentist who will drain the abscess and remove the infection from the affected area.
Finish taking all of the antibiotics your dentist prescribes. This is necessary to rid your body of all of the infection left behind from the abscess.
Have a root canal if your dentist deems it the right course of treatment for you. During a root canal, your dentist will drill down into the pulp of your tooth and remove the infection. Your dentist will fill the removed area and cap your tooth.
Get your tooth pulled if a root canal or draining isn't enough to relieve your symptoms. Ideally, your tooth can be saved, but having it pulled can be the only solution to treat a stubborn tooth abscess that is not solved by a root canal or other treatments.