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Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of a Tooth Abscess

Are you suffering from pain, jaw ache, or swollen gums? Here’s how our qualified family dentists can quickly treat an abscessed tooth and restore your oral health.

A tooth abscess is a collection of pus that can form inside the teeth, in the gums, or in the bone that holds the teeth in place. It is caused by a bacterial infection and can have some unpleasant symptoms,  including:

  • Severe, persistent, throbbing toothache
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Sensitivity to pressure or chewing
  • Fever
  • Swelling in your face or cheek
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes in your jaw or around your neck

Affordable and Convenient Family Dentistry Services in Calgary

At Marlborough Dental Centre, our qualified family dentists offer a wide range of oral services from children’s and senior’s dentistry, to cosmetic treatments including dental implants and teeth whitening, to suit all your dental needs and ensure you have the beautiful, healthy smile you deserve.

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What Causes a Tooth Abscess?

A tooth abscess occurs when bacteria begins to invade the dental pulp - the innermost part of the tooth that contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. Bacteria can enter through a cavity, or a chip/crack in the tooth, and spread down to the root.

Risk Factors:

There are certain risk factors that can increase your chances of developing a painful tooth abscess, including:

  • POOR DENTAL HYGIENE. Failing to take proper care of your teeth and gums - such as not brushing your teeth twice daily, and not flossing, will certainly increase your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, tooth abscess, and other oral health complications.
  • A DIET HIGH IN SUGAR. Having a diet that is very high in foods which are rich in sugar, such as sweets, candies, and sodas, will contribute to the development of dental cavities, which in turn can turn into tooth abscesses.

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How is a Tooth Abscess Treated?

It’s important to understand that a tooth abscess WILL NOT go away without treatment. Even if the abscess ruptures and the pain decreases, you will still need to visit your family dentist for dental treatment.

This is crucial to preventing the infection from spreading into your jaw and other areas of your head and neck.

What to Expect From a Tooth Abscess Treatment:

When performed by a qualified and experienced family dentist, treatment for a tooth abscess is a relatively pain-free and very safe procedure. Here is what to expect:

  • INCISION: The abscess will need to be cut out and the pus, which contains the bacteria, drained away. To do this, your family dentist will likely administer a local anaesthetic.

  • TREATING A PERIAPICAL ABSCESS: A root canal treatment will be used to remove the abscess. During this procedure, a drill is used to bore a hole into the dead tooth, so that any pus can come out. Any damaged tissue will be removed from the pulp and a root filling is then inserted into the space to prevent further infection.

Root Canal Therapy


  • TREATING A PERIODONTAL ABSCESS: During this procedure, the tooth abscess will be drained and the periodontal pocket cleaned. By scaling and planing below the gum line, the surfaces of the root of the tooth will be smoothed, helping the tooth to heal and preventing further infections from occurring.


Preventing a Tooth Abscess

Avoiding tooth decay is essential to preventing a tooth abscess and it’s important to take good care of your teeth in order to avoid decay. Here are some general tips on how to keep your mouth healthy:

  1. Get regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings done by your family dentist
  2. Brush your teeth twice daily, preferably with a fluoride toothpaste
  3. Floss daily to clean those hard-to-reach spots between your teeth and gums
  4. Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or whenever the bristles are frayed
  5. Eat healthy food, limiting sugary items and between-meal snacks
  6. Visit your family dentist as soon as you notice you have a loose or cracked tooth


Call Today

To find out more about our wide range of family dentistry services, including the costs and benefits of a root canal treatment, contact our Calgary dental clinic today at 403-248-2066 or fill in our online contact form.

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