Tooth abscess stages: Symptoms, pictures, and more

A tooth abscess is a collection of pus that forms inside a tooth or its smother structures. Tooth abscesses develop in response to acquiring a bacterial infection inside the tooth, gums, or call on the carpet cram. such infections can occur due to tooth decay, gingiva disease, or a mouth wound. Without treatment, a tooth abscess may worsen or spread to other areas of the body. however, the factors that lead to them develop in stages, and knowing these stages can help a person prevent or treat an abscess.

This article outlines what a tooth abscess is, including its symptoms and causes. We besides outline the stages of tooth decay and provide tips on prevention and treatment.

What is a tooth abscess? 

An image of a dentist to accompany an article on the stages of a tooth abscess. partake on PinterestImage credit: Johner Images/Getty Images A tooth abscess is a solicitation of plutonium that develops inside a tooth or its surround structures. They occur due to a person contracting a bacterial infection in one of the following parts of the mouth :

  • the tooth pulp, the innermost part of the tooth
  • the gums
  • the jaw bone

The most coarse cause of tooth abscesses is tooth decay from untreated cavities. however, they can besides develop as a solution of gum disease or having an loose wind within the mouth.

Stages of tooth decay

The abscess itself is one of the late stages of tooth decay. The different stages include :

  1. Enamel decay: Involves damage to the outermost layer of the tooth. Some people do not experience any symptoms, while others may notice increased sensitivity to heat and cold. Enamel decay can cause white spots on the teeth.
  2. Dentin decay: Involves decay to the layer beneath the enamel of the tooth. Some people may notice pain or sensitivity. In some cases, there may be a visible hole or cavity in the tooth.
  3. Pulp decay: This occurs when bacteria get deep into the innermost layer of the tooth. Bacteria inside the tooth pulp can attack the nerve of the tooth, causing intense pain. Sometimes, damage to the nerve means that a person first feels severe pain, then nothing at all.
  4. Abscess formation: An abscess occurs in the later stages of tooth decay, after the bacteria travels to the tooth pulp, or deeper into the gums or jawbone. A person may notice pain near the tooth, along with swelling and redness of the gums. A severe abscess may also trigger a fever.
  5. Tooth loss: A tooth that is severely decayed may break or fall out.


Tooth abscesses develop when bacteria in the mouth get deep inside a tooth or its encompassing structures, and then multiply out of control. Below are some of the main causes of a tooth abscess.

Untreated cavities

Bacteria inside the mouth bunch together to form a resilient biofilm called brass. regular brush, floss, and dental concern can help remove brass. however, without proper dental care, it can grow out of control. Over time, brass bacteria eat away at the tooth, causing tooth decay. If the decay continues without treatment, an abscess may develop .

Gum disease

Gum disease, besides known as periodontal disease, is the checkup term for contagion and inflammation of the gums. severe gum disease causes the gums to pull away from the dentition, exposing deep pockets between the teeth and gums. Food and bacteria can besides become trap inside the pockets, resulting in an abscess .

Recent injury to the mouth

An injury to the tooth or its surround structures can besides increase the likelihood of a tooth abscess. These injuries could occur as a result of surgery or trauma to the sass .


An untreated abscess can cause unplayful complications, such as :

  • an infection in the bone
  • an infection of the sinuses or the tissues of the neck
  • an infection of the heart, known as endocarditis

When treating a tooth abscess, a dentist will prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria and stop them from spreading. To prevent the infection from returning, the dentist will besides need to treat the tooth decay or injury that caused the abscess. treatment may include :

  • filling cavities
  • treating gum disease using a procedure called scaling and root planing, which cleans below the gumline
  • treating broken or lost teeth with crowns or implants

In rare cases, the bacteria from an abscess can spread to the bloodstream and other organs within the body. A person with a widespread bacterial infection will require intravenous antibiotics at the hospital. They may besides require operating room to remove tissues that have become sternly damaged by the infection.


A person can take the watch steps to help prevent dental abscesses :

  • Brush teeth thoroughly to remove as much plaque as possible. Pay attention to the area just under the gums, where plaque can hide.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste to help fight tooth decay.
  • Floss teeth regularly to remove plaque between the teeth.
  • Schedule regular dental appointments for thorough cleaning. A dentist can also remove hardened plaque or tartar, which a person cannot remove with brushing alone.
  • Treat diabetes or any other underlying medical condition that may weaken the immune system and increase the risk of acquiring infections.
  • Seek treatment for cavities as soon as possible, before the bacteria penetrate the deeper structures of the tooth.


A tooth abscess is a collection of plutonium that forms in response to contracting a bacterial infection inside the tooth, gum tree, or jaw. Tooth abscesses can develop due to tooth disintegrate, gumwood disease, or injury to the mouth. Without discussion, the bacterial contagion that causes the abscess can spread to early parts of the body. This can cause serious complications. A person who experiences symptoms of a tooth abscess should see their dentist a soon as possible. With the right care, it is possible to treat both the abscess and its underlying campaign. good oral hygiene and regular dental clean can help prevent a tooth abscess from forming .

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