An abscessed tooth refers to an infection-caused pocket of pus in the tissue next to a tooth.
An abscessed tooth is caused by a serious infection that can develop in the tissue around a tooth. When the pulp of the tooth dies because of damage or tooth decay, mouth bacteria start to grow in the dead tissue. Bacteria spread from the root of the tooth to the tissue underneath it, creating a pus-filled pocket called an abscess .
An abscessed tooth may also develop because of gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis). Gum disease causes gums to pull away from the teeth, leaving pockets. If one of these pockets becomes blocked, mouth bacteria can grow, get backed up, and an abscess may form.
As the infection spreads, the bone in your jaw may begin to dissolve to make more room for the swelling of the infected area. As the bone dissolves, pressure may be relieved and pain reduced, but the infection remains. If too much bone dissolves, there will be no support for the tooth and the tooth becomes loose and may have to be removed.
Today, with a special dental procedure called a root canal therapy you may save that tooth. Inside each tooth is the pulp which provides nutrients and nerves to the tooth, it runs like a thread down through the root. After the dentist removes the pulp, the root canal is cleaned and sealed off to protect it. Then your dentist places a crown over the tooth to help make it stronger.
Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort involving one to three visits. Best of all, it can save your tooth and your smile!