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Tooth Abscess

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Last updated June 11, 2022

Tooth abscess quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your tooth abscess.

Tooth abscess quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your tooth abscess.

Take tooth abscess quiz

What is a tooth abscess?

A tooth abscess is a collection of infected material (pus) in the center of a tooth. It is caused by a bacterial infection. The infection is usually caused by tooth decay, periodontal disease, or a cracked tooth. These can let bacteria enter the pulp (the soft tissue of a tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue).

If the abscess is not treated, it can lead to a serious infection in the jaw bone, teeth and surrounding tissues.

Symptoms

Treatment

See a dentist immediately to get treated. Treatment depends on how bad the infection is but usually includes taking antibiotics.  The infection may need to be drained and cleaned. You may need a root canal if the abscess is caused by decay or a cracked tooth.

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Dr. Rothschild has been a faculty member at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He currently practices as a hospitalist at Newton Wellesley Hospital. In 1978, Dr. Rothschild received his MD at the Medical College of Wisconsin and trained in internal medicine followed by a fellowship in critical care medicine. He also received an MP...
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