Tooth abscess

Swollen gums and abscessed tooth, with detail of an abscessed tooth and a healthy tooth

An abscessed tooth is a tooth that has a pocket of pus in the tissue next to it. This often occurs because the inside (pulp) of a tooth is infected and the bacteria spread to the tissue underneath the tooth. An abscess usually causes throbbing pain in the tooth and red, swollen gums.

Current as of: July 28, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry
Arden G. Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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