How Common Is a Dental Abscess?

A dental abscess sounds like a scary problem, and to be fair, it is not without its dangers. However, the best way to deal with these kinds of problems is head on, because they can be helped, treated and removed.

Your oral health depends on a keen eye and quick action, so read on to find out more about abscesses, their commonality and what you can do about them.

How often do dental abscesses appear?

For your average person, a dental abscess may only occur once in a lifetime. However, this does not mean that they are not serious and that they cannot occur more often due to bad luck, uneven oral hygiene or any number of factors.

What causes a dental abscess?

Like all tooth decay, a dental abscess usually forms from a lack of regular oral hygiene. Bacteria collects in the mouth and finds a home either in a split in the gum or a crack in the tooth and forms an infection. This infection becomes an infected sack full of pus, usually hiding under the tooth, and is called an abscess.

Symptoms of a dental abscess

The first and most memorable symptom of a dental abscess is the frequent, throbbing pain in the mouth (focused on the tooth). This may not be limited to only pressure: Hot and cold drinks may also spike this pain.

An abscess is an infection, which means it is affecting your entire immune system and body. This can cause a feeling of illness, with symptoms like fatigue, inability to sleep and even swollen lymph nodes if the infection becomes bad enough.

Another, less frequent symptom is a sudden foul taste in the mouth; this is caused by infected pus seeping from the abscess, and it is not a pleasant experience.

Treating a dental abscess

First, go to the dentist immediately if you suspect you have a dental abscess. If the symptoms have progressed to swollen tongue or throat or trouble breathing, this is an emergency situation.

Generally, the abscess is lanced or cut out with a scalpel by the dentist and all the pus and bacteria suctioned out and cleaned. This is a very minor surgery, but it does use a local anesthetic to numb the area. In extreme cases, root canals or tooth removal may be recommended.


Like an infection, a dental abscess can be extremely dangerous depending on the situation. The elderly and the very young are in particular  danger, but anyone can have serious side effects from an infection. In general, when it comes to abscesses, do not wait. Go to your dentist right away.

Time to make an appointment

A dental abscess can cause a whole host of problems in the long run, some of them quite serious. If you are worried that you or a loved one has a dental abscess, it is time to call the dentist and get treatment started.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Carolina Smiles Family Dental, request an appointment in our Brevard office here: Or call us at (828) 974-3326.

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