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Causes of Tooth abscess

Posted on 6/19/2023 by Dr. Michael Wockenfus
Causes of Tooth abscessImagine a throbbing pain that makes it difficult to eat, speak, or even think clearly. This is the reality for millions of people around the world who suffer from a tooth abscess, a dental condition that can be both excruciating and debilitating. It occurs when bacteria invade the inner layer of the tooth, causing a dangerous buildup of pus. This leads to a painful and often frustrating battle with a tooth abscess, a condition that can be both challenging to manage and emotionally draining. We discuss its causes below.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay may sound innocuous enough, but it's a serious condition that can cause pain and discomfort. It all starts with the bacteria in your mouth, which produce acid that slowly eats away at your tooth enamel. You might not notice anything at first, but as the decay progresses, you may feel a twinge of pain when you eat something hot or cold. If left unchecked, the decay can eventually reach the softer inner layers of your tooth, known as the dental pulp, and cause an abscess - a painful and potentially dangerous condition.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is another common cause of tooth abscess. It occurs when bacteria in your mouth infect and inflame your gum tissue. The infection can spread to the bone that supports your teeth, causing it to deteriorate and potentially leading to an abscess.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can also increase your risk of developing a tooth abscess. For example, individuals with a weakened immune system, such as those undergoing chemotherapy or living with HIV/AIDS, are more susceptible to infections, including tooth abscesses.


Trauma to the tooth, such as a crack or fracture, can also lead to an abscess. When the tooth is damaged, bacteria can infect the pulp, leading to an abscess. Symptoms of a tooth abscess caused by trauma include pain, sensitivity to hot and cold, and a visible crack or fracture in the tooth.

Dental Procedures

In some cases, dental procedures can also lead to tooth abscesses. For example, if a filling or crown is not properly placed, bacteria can enter the tooth and cause an infection. Additionally, root canals, while designed to treat infections, can sometimes fail and lead to an abscess. If you have undergone a dental procedure and experience tooth abscess symptoms, it's important to contact your dentist immediately for evaluation and treatment.

Ultimately, practicing good oral hygiene and scheduling regular dental check-ups can help prevent tooth abscesses from occurring. However, if you are already victimized, contact us to schedule your consultation and treatment.

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Michael J. Wockenfus, DDS created a blog to educate the community. It is your resource for all dentistry questions. Learn and read topics in the blog here!
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