An abscessed tooth is a type of dental infection deep within a tooth or gum, which is most commonly caused by severe tooth decay. In other cases, a tooth can become abscessed as the result of some type of trauma, such as a cracked tooth, an untreated cavity, or a pocket that forms as the result of gum disease. The sign of an abscessed tooth is a buildup of pus that is the result of infection of the tooth or gums.
Symptoms of an abscessed tooth may include throbbing pain, red or swollen gums, a salty or unpleasant taste in the mouth, fever, swollen neck glands, bad breath, or swelling of the jaw or face. Furthermore, if a tooth is tender or sore to the touch, or if there is a bump (similar to a pimple) on the gums, this may be a sign of an abscess.
Immediate treatment for a dental abscess often includes pain medication and antibiotics, while a root canal is often the final cure. Once infected tooth pulp has been removed through a root canal, a dental crown or veneer may be placed to add support and strength to the weakened tooth. In cases where the abscess leads to pus in the gums surrounding the affected tooth, this infection will need to be drained. If left untreated, the infection from an abscessed tooth can spread and lead to tooth loss or destruction of jaw bone structure below the affected tooth.