Abscess Tooth

Patient Education Resource

Chicago Dental Smiles serves these neighborhoods from our downtown Chicago dentist office: The Loop, Streeterville, River North, Near West Loop, Near South Loop, Lakeshore East, Gold Coast, Old Town and Lincoln Park.


Your downtown Chicago dentist, Mohit Joshi, DDS

Let’s be really blunt, an abscess tooth really hurts – a lot. The good news is that the tooth abscess is treatable. The explain an abscess tooth in it’s most basic form is that a pocket of pus formed, caused by a bacterial infection, and the infection then moved bacteria from the root of your tooth to the tissue just below or near the tooth.

In general, a tooth that has become abscessed is one whose underlying pulp (the tooth’s soft core) has become infected or swollen. The pulp contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue, and lies within the tooth. It extends from the crown of the tooth, to the tip of the root, in the bone of the jaws.

An abscessed tooth can be an extremely painful condition.

In some cases, antibiotics are administered in an attempt to kill an infection. If antibiotics are ineffective and an abscess is shown to be damaging the pulp or lower bony structures, a root canal procedure may be needed to remove the dead pulp and restore the tooth to a healthy state.


Your downtown Chicago dentist, Mohit Joshi, DDS

There are several causes for an abscessed tooth. Commonly, a dental cavity becomes so large and deep that is reaches the pulp chamber. When the cavity reaches the pulp, inflammation occurs (pulpitis) and is characterized as a toothache.

Other causes for an abscessed tooth can include an injury to the mouth, dental crowns or fillings that get too close to the pulp chamber, or damage caused by grinding your teeth.

Any tooth can develop an abscess, but most commonly the third molars (wisdom teeth) are more prone than others to developing an issue. Due to their positioning in the mouth, they are more difficult to clean effectively with daily brushing and flossing.