Tooth Abscess Stages, Reasons and Treatment Plan

Dec 30, 2021 | Blog, Tooth Abscess Stages

Toothache is an unavoidable pain that gets everyone up and running to the dentist for relief. As hard as the tooth is, it does have sensitive parts like the nerve that, once triggered, sends sharp shooting pain. There are many reasons for this, one of which is dental abscess. In this blog, we have detailed tooth abscess and its stages with treatment methods.

What Is A Tooth Abscess?

It is an oral disease which is also known as a dental or oral abscess, an infection that results in pus collection. When this pus stays on for a long time, it forms an abscess because of bacterial manifestation. The infection adversely affects the teeth structures and causes constant ache.

5 stages of Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess occurs in 5 stages which include:

1. Enamel – Outer Layer Decay

Enamel is the first layer of the tooth. Therefore it is the first one to get affected. Plaque buildup is the reason for this. Some individuals may not experience any other signs, while others may have sensitivity or spots on the teeth.

2. Dentin Layer Decay

If the enamel decay is not treated on time, it progresses and goes deeper into the next layer, dentin. Dentin is the yellow layer; once the tooth abscess is in second stage, the individual will have increased sensitivity or a small hole in their tooth.

3. Pulp Layer Decay

The pulp is the deepest layer of the tooth. It is soft and extremely responsive to external triggers. Once the bacteria reaches this layer, it easily infects the nerves causing throbbing pain. After nerve infection, it dies, and abscess formation starts its course.

4. Formation of Abscess

After reaching the pulp, it goes further – towards the gum or jaw bone. The gums begin swelling and may form a boil or bump. The oral cavity pain becomes unbearable.

5. Further Complications

Some of the complications that come along with untreated tooth abscess are:

  • Sepsis – bacteria can spread in the bloodstream, causing sepsis and may result in fatality.
  • Tooth loss – when the decay is not treated, the tooth eventually falls off.

Types of Tooth abscess

The types depend on the place of abscess formation:

Gum or Gingival abscess

A gum or gingival abscess is painful and rapidly grows, forming lesions between the teeth and gums because of bacterial infection. Commonly, this type originates as an effect from an impact by a foreign matter such as a toothpick, popcorn shell, or anything sharp.

In the starting stages of this kind, the abscess or boil presents as a red swelling having a shiny outer surface. When 48 hours pass the abscess becomes sharp and is at greater risk of bursting.

Periodontal Abscess

A periodontal abscess forms a pus pocket in the gum tissue. Just like a gingival abscess, this kind also looks like a shiny protrusion from the gums and is extremely sensitive to touch. Moreover, the teeth beside abscess site becomes sensitive and loose.

Usually, this kind develops in people who have periodontal disease, an advanced stage of gum disease, and the end result is permanent bone loss. Plaque hardens and forms tartar initiating periodontitis. The hard tartar or calculus sits beneath the gums, along the line, and between them. Calculus removal is possible with deep dental cleaning consisting of scaling and root planing.

Periapical Abscess

This forms on the root of the tooth. A pus pouch forms because of the bacterial infection. It enters inside the pulp via a cavity, chip, or crack. The pulp consists of blood vessels, nerves, and other connective tissues.
The nerve has senses, and when the bacteria pass through the pulp, it fans out towards the root forming an abscess. Typically, the root tip undergoes inflammation, pain, and swelling.

Causes of a Dental Abscess

The main reason for dental abscess formation is plaque buildup as a result of improper brush and flossing regime. Other reasons include:

  • Damage or Other Injuries

  • In case of accidents or minor impacts like a hit from a toothbrush, sticky or crunchy food, etc. cuts the gum tissues or accident causing a crack in teeth. This allows easy entry of the bacteria, which will form an abscess.

  • High Sugar Diet

  • Poor diets, high in sugar content aids in dental plaque buildup. If the person does not follow proper oral hygiene – floss and brushing decay may develop and form an abscess later.

Tooth Abscess Treatment

The treatment plan largely depends on the infection severity; options available are:

Draining the Abscess

If the abscess has not progressed, it can easily be drained out. The dentist makes a small cut on the protrusion and drain it; next, he cleans the site and prescribes antibiotics for clearing infection from within.

Root Canal

A root canal becomes essential when the bacteria reaches the root or dental pulp. The dentist reaches down the infected pulp area, plucks it out, and drains the pus as well. Next, the area is cleaned, reshaped, sealed, and covered with a dental crown.

Tooth Extraction

Dentists go for extraction when there is no hope of saving the tooth, or retaining could be potentially harmful. The dentist injects local anesthesia and plucks the tooth out in this procedure.
After removal, the socket is covered using sterile gauze and pressurized a little for 20 minutes, and stitched if necessary. Placing a dental implant in the socket is possible after it heals properly for maintaining the aesthetics.

Final Outlook

Tooth abscess is a situation that needs immediate dental intervention. Contact Champions Dental for affordable dentistry in Houston at 281 866 0442 for scheduling an appointment.

Dr. Esteban Garza, DDS, MAGD

Dr. Esteban Garza, DDS, MAGD

Dr. Esteban Garza, a Texas native with roots in the Rio Grande Valley, boasts a diverse educational and professional background. After completing his Biology degree at Texas A&M, he transitioned from teaching to dentistry, earning his DDS from Baylor College of Dentistry. Dr. Garza’s commitment to excellence for over 15 years, is evident through his extensive education in various dental specialities, culminating in prestigious accolades like the Fellowship Award in 2016 and the Mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry in 2020, achieved by less than 2% of dentists. 


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