If you haven’t had a general dental checkup in some time, then many problems can arise that you don’t know about. Then, without intervention, they can become much, much worse. Take tooth abscesses, for example.

Tooth abscesses are pockets of pus that bacterial infections cause. A periapical abscess forms at the root’s tip, while periodontal abscesses form at the sides of your tooth’s root in the gum. Typically, they form because of an injury or untreated cavity.

If you suspect you have a tooth abscess, it’s essential to seek help from your local general dental clinic. Here are a few tell-tale signs that you might have one.


If you notice a persistent and severe throbbing toothache, then a tooth abscess can be one of several reasons. You may even notice that the pain radiates into your neck, ear, and jawbone. Even if the cause isn’t an abscess, it’s still a good idea to see a dentist to get to the cause of the pain.


One of the more common signs of a tooth abscess is sensitivity. You may notice that your teeth feel extra sensitive when you expose them to hot and cold temperatures. Sometimes, even biting or chewing can lead to uncomfortable sensitivity.


You may not initially make the connection that a fever can be related to your oral health, but it can be. If you notice a high temperature and any other symptoms associated with a tooth abscess, seek dental care immediately.

Facial and Cheek Swelling

Any swelling in your cheeks and face can be a sign of a tooth abscess. Given that an untreated tooth abscess can lead to life-threatening complications, it’s crucial to seek medical or dental treatment if you notice this symptom.

Lymph Node Swelling

Have you noticed that your lymph nodes in your neck or under your jaw are sore or swollen? Believe it or not, this can be a sign of a tooth abscess.

Difficulty Swallowing or Breathing

When left untreated, a tooth abscess can lead to severe and even life-threatening complications. If you have difficulty swallowing or breathing, seek medical care urgently.

Who’s at Risk of a Tooth Abscess?

Believe it or not, some people are more susceptible to tooth abscesses than others. If you don’t take care of your gums and teeth with twice-daily brushing and flossing, then you can be at an increased risk of decay, abscesses, and gum disease.

If your diet is high in sugar, then your increased risk of dental cavities can also put you at a higher risk of abscesses. Dry mouth due to aging or medications can also increase your tooth decay risk.

How to Treat a Tooth Abscess

If you notice any of these signs above, dental care or even urgent medical treatment may be required. Your dentist can drain the abscess and get rid of the infection. Sometimes, they can offer a root canal treatment to save your affected tooth, but it may also require extraction.

The sooner you seek dental care for a suspected tooth abscess, the better you will feel for it. Remember, failure to act on an abscess can be fatal. If you have any difficulty breathing or swallowing, or your lymph nodes are swollen, and you can’t see your dentist, consult a doctor.