Information for the public about dental abscess from the NHS Inform website.
The information comprises:
- Symptoms of dental abscess
- Causes of dental abscess
- Diagnosing a dental abscess
- Treating a dental abscess
- Complications of a dental abscess
A dental abscess is a collection of pus that can form in the teeth or gums as a result of a bacterial infection.
Bacteria are found in plaque (a byproduct of food, saliva and bacteria in the mouth). Plaque damages teeth and gums and can eventually infect the soft tissue inside a tooth or gums, forming an abscess.
There are two types of dental abscess:
- periapical abscess (the most common type), when bacteria infect the inside of the tooth as a result of dental decay
- periodontal abscess, when bacteria infect the gums
See Causes of dental abscess for more information about the two types.
Dental abscesses can be very painful and tender and can make a person feel unwell.