What is an abscessed tooth?
An abscess is a type of localized infection and there are two types of dental abscess: Endodontic abscess and Periodontal abscess.
Inside each tooth there is some live soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp is the organ that forms the tooth and the remnants are trapped inside. If the pulp is damaged by trauma or bacterial decay that reaches the pulp the pupal cells die and bacteria invade resulting in dental abscess. Some of the symptoms of endodontic abscess are: pain localized to one tooth or to a general area, pain with chewing or tapping on a tooth, swelling above the tooth, or facial swelling. The treatment for for an endodontic abscess is either root canal therapy, which allows you to keep the tooth, or extraction.
There is a cuff of gum tissue around each tooth. A periodontal abscess results when a piece of food (eg. popcorn hull) gets stuck between the tooth and the gum. Inflammation and infection of the gum tissue are a response to this foreign object. The symptoms of periodontal abscess are: localized pain around the gum line, swelling at the gum line or between teeth. The treatment for periodontal abscess involves the removal of the food from the gum line under local anesthetic.
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