An infected tooth, also called an abscessed tooth, is an uncomfortable condition and requires an immediate visit to the dentist to prevent further pain and problems. The result of a bacterial infection, an abscessed tooth develops pockets of pus at the tip of the root or along the gums at the side of the root. Learn about the signs and treatments for this condition in the following guide. 

A Brief Guide to Tooth Infections

What Are the Symptoms?

The first sign of an abscessed tooth is throbbing pain in or near the gums. Rather than fading, this pain usually gets worse over time. In more severe cases, the pain may also extend into the neck and jaw, and some people experience redness and swelling of the gums and face. Your teeth may also become more sensitive to pressure and temperature as a result of this infection.

What Are the Risk Factors?


Tooth abscesses are most common for people with a history of poor dental hygiene and those with high-sugar diets. The bacteria that cause this infection thrive in sugary environments, using the sugar as extra fuel to grow and reproduce. This is exacerbated by a lack of thorough dental hygiene. Neglecting to clean one's gums and teeth allows the bacteria to take hold more easily. 

You may also be at higher risk of tooth infection if you experience dry mouth. The most common causes of dry mouth are certain medicines and changing oral health with aging. If you know you are at higher risk of abscessed teeth, tell your dentist and ensure you schedule regular cleanings. 

How Can You Treat Them?

Luckily, abscessed teeth are easy to fix and usually clear up within a few days after receiving treatment. Depending on the severity of the infection, the dentist may open up the abscess, drain the pus, and clean the infected area. In more severe cases, it may be necessary to have the tooth pulled or to perform a root canal. If the infection has spread to multiple teeth, you may also be prescribed antibiotics to help contain it. 


If you're experiencing tooth pain that may be caused by an abscess, visit Henry Dale Coffey, DMD, PSC in Somerset, KY. For over 40 years, Dr. Coffey has made patient comfort and health a top priority, offering everything from regular cleanings to root canals and dentures. Learn more about their services online, and call (606) 679-7419 to schedule an appointment.