Why a Tooth Abscess Means Serious Trouble

A tooth abscess, or small pocket of infection, results when a tooth or other dental infection is allowed to become serious. It is also a common cause for some of the more severe forms of discomfort. Unlike many other causes of toothaches, however, dental pain is not the only problem that an abscess can generate. To help you understand the need for immediate treatment, we explore why a tooth abscess means serious trouble for your oral health, even beyond the infected tooth.

Signs of a Tooth Abscess

Often, a tooth abscess develops on or near a tooth’s root as an internal infection spreads through the root canals. Besides severe pain in and around the tooth, a dental abscess can also include other symptoms, such as;

  • Persistently foul breath
  • Fever
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Swollen glands in the neck and jaw
  • Noticeable swelling in the gums around the abscess

Treating an Abscess

If a tooth abscess develops, it will have to be drained in order to save the tooth. This may require root canal therapy to access and clean the tooth’s interior. However, in severe cases, oral surgery could be needed to reach and treat the infected pocket. If enough damage is caused by the infection, then you may have to have the tooth extracted to preserve the tissues around the abscessed tooth.

Preventing Severe Tooth Infection

If you effectively prevent tooth decay, or treat it before it has a chance to deeply infiltrate your tooth structure, then you have a good chance of preventing the formation of a tooth abscess. At home, be sure to brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, and maintain a schedule of checkups and cleanings at your general dentist’s office. If an examination reveals a severe infection, then speak with your oral health specialist as soon as possible.


Dr. Shawn Hofkes and the staff at Cerritos Dental Surgery are highly qualified to address complex issues, including those that require oral surgery to correct. To schedule an appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today by calling 562-584-4082. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.