By Last Updated: May 25, 2023

If you have a severe toothache, gumboil, or pus draining out of your gums, you may be experiencing signs of an abscessed tooth. This is a very serious dental condition that may lead to severe and widespread infection if left untreated. Early diagnosis and treatment can make all the difference between saving your tooth and having it extracted.

As soon as you see the warning signs, schedule an appointment with Springbank Hill Dental to relieve symptoms and provide treatment immediately. With our reliable team, we can assess the best course of treatment and ultimately help preserve your tooth.

What is an abscessed tooth?

An abscessed tooth is a bacterial infection caused by severe tooth decay, large tooth fracture or cracked tooth, or periodontal disease.

This occurs when bacteria enter the pulp or the inside of the tooth through an opening leading to the mouth. The mouth is home to several bacteria that may cause problems when it seeps into the tooth and creates a home where it can thrive. From here, bacteria will rapidly multiply and cause infection and an abscess.

What causes an abscessed tooth?

Some common causes of tooth abscesses include:

  • Extensive tooth decay – bacteria causing decay will continue to eat away the tooth structure. If allowed to progress without proper treatment, it will enter the pulp where the blood vessels and nerves are. When bacteria spreads to the pulp, it can affect the surrounding bone and cause an abscess that will continue to grow.
  • Cracked tooth or fracture – a crack creates an opening that allows bacteria to proliferate into the tooth. This causes an abscess to form on the end of the fracture line.
  • Periodontal disease – periodontitis is an irreversible dental disease that affects the bone surrounding the tooth. It starts as a gum disease, but non-treatment will eventually cause bacteria to invade the bone, resulting in an abscess. 

What are the signs and symptoms of an abscessed tooth?

Depending on the severity of the infection, an abscess may come with the following symptoms:

  • Toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Swelling of the gums, face, or jaw
  • Easily bleeding gums
  • Draining pus or sore on the gum
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Difficulty in opening the mouth

When systemic symptoms such as fever and swollen lymph are already present, it is a telltale sign that the infection is already past the tooth and has affected the entire body. Head to the nearest emergency dentist or hospital for immediate relief and symptom management.

What are the treatments for abscessed teeth?

When an abscess is present, the tooth can no longer be restored with just dental fillings. Infection control and removal should be done to prevent further spread of bacteria that may damage the surrounding teeth and bone.

At Springbank Hill Dental, we offer two main treatments for an abscessed tooth:

Root Canal Treatment

Endodontic therapy through a root canal is an option to consider if you want to preserve the tooth. The goal is to clean the inside of the tooth, eliminate bacteria-causing infection, and prevent reinfection.

Tooth Extraction

However, if the infection is already at a point of no return, it may be better to remove it to prevent continuous damage. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics if necessary to keep bacteria at a minimum and allow for efficient tooth extraction. Once the tooth is removed, our team will discuss tooth replacement options to restore your smile.

Root Canal Treatment at Springbank Hill Dental

Nothing functions and looks as good as your natural tooth. So, we want to save your tooth at all costs. For abscessed teeth, this is done through root canal therapy. At Springbank Hill Dental, our treatment with root canals involves four standard procedures:

Cleaning and shaping

The first step is to get rid of all bacteria and infected tooth pulp by cleaning the tooth using endodontic files. This is a vital part of the treatment as it will prevent reinfection. Once all canals are cleaned, each will be shaped accordingly to optimize it for the next step.


Canal medications are used if the abscess is too large. This step helps to control and minimize the bacteria and ensure a higher treatment success rate. Medications are placed in the canals and kept in place until the abscess decreases and disappears. For more extensive infections, antibiotics may be needed to hasten the process.

Filling and tooth build-up

Once the infection is cleared and the tooth is in good health, the next step is to fill the canals with gutta-percha. This plastic, permanent filling material seals the canal walls, preventing bacteria from going into the canals and causing another abscess.

After the canal is sealed, the tooth needs structural reinforcement through a build-up to prevent leakage. This is a crucial step that will ensure the longevity of the restoration and treatment. 

Final restoration

The last step is to strengthen the tooth by doing a dental crown. A tooth that has undergone root canal therapy is more brittle as it lacks nutrients to keep it strong and durable. So, to prevent possible fracture of the treated tooth, a crown must be fitted over the tooth.

Aside from protection, the dental crown also restores the appearance of the tooth. This helps it blend with the rest of your smile, which is important for a restored front tooth. It also provides structure and strength to perform daily functions such as biting and chewing.

Healthy Smiles with Springbank Hill Dental

An abscessed tooth can still be saved – early diagnosis and treatment are important to ensure a long-term and excellent prognosis. Otherwise, your dentist will need to consider tooth extraction, which will have several consequences later.

Do not wait to experience severe pain before you see your dentist! The earlier we can diagnose your problem, the better the treatment. Schedule an appointment today with Springbank Hill Dental for a lifetime of healthy and beautiful smiles!