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  Abscessed Tooth
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Periapical (root-tip) Abscess

diagramA periapical (root-tip) abscess is a pocket of infection at the base of a tooth's root. The tooth becomes abscessed after the pulp (nerve) of the tooth becomes infected. A periapical abscess is usually caused by deep decay or an accident (trauma to the tooth involving nerve damage). A periapically abscessed tooth will require either Pulp Therapy or an Extraction. In some cases an antibiotic will also be prescribed.

Lateral Abscess

A lateral abscess is similar to a periapical abscess, but develops along the lateral surface of the tooth's root. In this case, the infection comes from outside the tooth instead of from within. A lateral abscess can either be gingival (located near the gum line) or periodontal (located deeper in the periodontal tissues).

All Abscesses

x-rayAn abscessed tooth is usually sensitive or painful. The discomfort is what normally alerts the patient to the problem. Occasionally, an abscess may be detected on an x-ray and treated before the patient experiences any discomfort. Left untreated, an abscess may compromise the immune system and in some cases may become life-threatening.


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