Dental Abscess: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment


Explore the comprehensive guide on dental abscess – a dental condition that demands prompt attention. Understanding the intricacies of abscess in teeth, from its symptoms to treatment options, is crucial for maintaining optimal oral health.

In this article, we delve into the details of abscess, shedding light on its causes, symptoms, and effective dental abscess treatment methods. Join us to explore the key aspects of managing and preventing dental abscesses.

What is a Dental Abscess?

A dental abscess, also known as a dentoalveolar abscess, emerges as a consequence of a bacterial infection, leading to a pus-filled pocket formation. This condition can manifest in different areas surrounding the tooth, with the gums or the tooth itself being affected.

Exploring the distinct types, such as gingival, periapical, and periodontal abscesses, provides insights into their unique origins. Understanding the complexities of a dental abscess is vital for recognising symptoms, causes, and, most importantly, determining appropriate treatment approaches.

Understanding Dental Abscess

Let us unravel the comprehensive understanding of this oral health concern:

What are the Symptoms of Dental Abscess?

Dental abscess symptoms are crucial to recognise for timely intervention:

  1. Persistent Throbbing Toothache: Moderate to severe pain radiating towards the ear, neck, or jaw.
  2. Sensitivity: Discomfort with hot or cold temperatures.
  3. Swelling: Facial tenderness or swollen lymph nodes.
  4. Chewing Discomfort: Pain or discomfort while chewing.
  5. Fever: Commonly accompanied by a foul taste or bad breath.

What are the Dental Abscess Stages?

Understanding the progression of a dental abscess involves recognising distinct stages:

  • Initial Infection: The journey begins with the infiltration of harmful bacteria, often through a crack or cavity.
  • Abscess Formation: As the infection advances, a pocket of pus forms at the root’s tip, indicating an inflammatory response.
  • Increasing Pain and Swelling: As the abscess grows, pain intensifies, accompanied by noticeable swelling. This stage often prompts individuals to seek dental intervention due to heightened discomfort.
  • Rupture or Spreading: Without timely treatment, the abscess may rupture, providing temporary relief but risking further spread of the infection to surrounding areas.
  • Chronic Abscess: In cases of prolonged neglect, the infection can become chronic, leading to severe complications.

What Causes Dental Abscess?

Following are some of the major dental abscess causes, each contributing to the development of this painful condition:

  • Bacterial Invasion: The most common cause involves harmful bacteria infiltrating the dental pulp. This intrusion often occurs through openings such as cavities, cracks, or compromised dental work.
  • Dental Decay: Untreated cavities provide a breeding ground for bacteria. As decay progresses, it can reach the inner pulp, leading to infection and abscess formation.
  • Gum Disease: Periodontal disease, characterised by inflammation and infection of the gums, can escalate to a periodontal abscess. This type occurs at the side of a tooth root on the gums. Smoking is linked to an escalated risk of gum disease, which, in turn, elevates the likelihood of dental abscesses.
  • Tooth Trauma or Injury: Injuries that result in tooth damage may expose the pulp to bacteria, creating conditions conducive to the development of an abscess. Fractures or chips can create entry points for teeth infections.
  • Poor Dental Hygiene: Neglecting oral care, including inadequate brushing and flossing, allows plaque to accumulate, fostering conditions like abscess formation.

Effective Dental Abscess Treatment

When facing a dental abscess, timely and appropriate treatment is crucial to alleviate pain as well as prevent further complications. Dental professionals employ various strategies based on the severity and nature of the abscess:

  • Root Canal Therapy

A common and effective approach involves a root canal treatment procedure. This entails removing the infected pulp, cleaning the affected area, and sealing it to prevent reinfection. Dental crowns may be recommended post-treatment for added protection and restoration.

  • Drainage and Abscess Removal 

In cases where a visible abscess is present, dentists may perform an incision to allow drainage of the accumulated pus. This aids in relieving pressure and facilitating the healing process.

  • Antibiotics

Prescribing antibiotics for dental abscesses is often integral, especially when the infection has the potential to spread. This helps control bacterial growth and supports other treatment measures.

  • Tooth Extraction

Extraction may be necessary in severe situations where the tooth is extremely damaged and cannot be salvaged through other means. Removing the affected tooth prevents the infection from spreading to neighbouring teeth.

  • Pain Management and Follow-up Care

Pain relief is a priority, and dentists may recommend over-the-counter or prescription dental abscess medication. Following the initial treatment, regular dental check-ups are essential to monitor healing progress and address any emerging concerns.

How to Treat an Abscessed Tooth?

An abscessed tooth demands prompt attention, and the following measures are essential for effective treatment:

Preventive Measures and Risk Reduction

Preventing dental abscesses involves proactive oral care practices. Following are some dental abscess prevention measures you can consider:

  • Oral Hygiene: Rigorous oral hygiene routines, including regular brushing and flossing, are fundamental in preventing bacterial buildup that could lead to abscess formation.
  • Healthy Diet: A low-sugar and acidic diet contributes to overall dental health. Nutrient-rich foods support gum and tooth strength, reducing the risk of abscess development.
  • Regular Dental Check-ups: Scheduled dental check-ups enable early detection of potential issues, allowing for timely intervention before they escalate into abscesses. Dentists in Sunshine Coast may also recommend dental X-rays for a comprehensive assessment.

Complications and Risks Associated

Untreated abscesses pose serious risks and complications. Following are a few abscess tooth symptoms:

  • Infection Spreading: If an abscess is left untreated, the infection can spread to surrounding tissues, jawbones, and even other parts of the body, intensifying the health risks. Abscess tooth extraction becomes a necessary course of action when the infection is severe, and the tooth is deemed unsalvageable. 
  • Sepsis: A severe complication arises when the infection enters the bloodstream, causing sepsis. This life-threatening condition necessitates immediate medical attention.


Safeguard your oral health with proactive dental abscess prevention. Schedule your appointment today to benefit from personalised solutions and ensure a pain-free smile. Don’t compromise on your well-being; take the first step towards optimal dental health with Oris Dental.


How soon after dental abscess treatment will I feel better?

The improvement timeline varies, but many experience relief within a few days of initiating treatment. Complete recovery may take longer, and adherence to prescribed medications and follow-up appointments is crucial.

Can a dental abscess heal by itself?

While the body’s immune system can contain the infection temporarily, a dental abscess won’t fully heal without intervention. Professional dental treatment is essential to address the root cause and prevent complications.

When to go to the ER for tooth infection?

Seek emergency care if you experience severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, swallowing, or facial swelling. These signs may indicate a spreading infection that requires immediate attention.

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Adarsh (Principal Dentist)


Adarsh (A-Dash) is the principal dentist at Oris Dental. Adarsh graduated as a dentist in 1996 from the University of Mumbai (Bombay, India). He entered private practice as an assistant dentist in one of the leading practices in Mumbai from 1996-2002. The practice offered all aspects of dentistry with the exception of Orthodontics. This prompted Adarsh to pursue a post graduate degree in Orthodontics and successfully completed the 3 year Full time the master’s program from University of Mumbai (Bombay, India) in 2005. Since then, Adarsh has been in private practice both as a general dentist and an orthodontist. He also served as teaching faculty at University in Mumbai for 3 yrs and when in India, he has been ‘the dentist’ to many dentists!! In 2008, Adarsh took the Australian Dental Council exam for direct recognition of his skill in Australia. He successfully completed the exams in the first attempt and moved to Australia early 2009. He has been in private practice in Australia since Jan 2009. Oris Dental was set up in Minyama in 2011. Oris Dental is now over 8 years old and is growing to be a well-respected practice in the area. He is particularly interested in Cosmetic dentistry Dental implants and Orthodontics. Adarsh hopes to use all the experience he has gained in the past 22 years, to offer the best in dentistry to all his patients in this practice. Adarsh believes in spreading smiles and has successfully designed smiles and in doing so improved the lives and self-confidence of many Sunshine Coast locals (Take a look at our Smile gallery!). Adarsh is an active member of the Australian Dental Association since 2009 He held the post of Senior Lecturer in Orthodontics in Mumbai University before moving to Australia. He is a Life member of the Indian Dental Association, serving as the General Secretary of the Association (Mumbai City Chapter) 2007-2009 He is Life member of the Indian Orthodontic Society. He is Candidate for Membership Examination MRACDS (Ortho) and plans to complete his membership exams soon. Adarsh is also currently pursuing his Diploma in Implant dentistry at the Royal College of Surgeons(Edinburgh). Adarsh has recently complete intensive training in implant placement and restoration in Neoss and TRI (Swiss) Implant system. He is married to Prachi for 15yrs and they have a 11 yr old son – Aarjav, a little daughter Aria who has just started prep and Daisy the mad Lab pup! He is currently learning to play Tennis and Badminton and loves watching the cricket!

Prachi (Owner/ Dentist)


Prachi is the director, part time dentist at Oris Dental. Prachi graduated in 2002 from Nair hospital dental college, Mumbai (Bombay, India), one of the leading dental schools in Asia. She then worked in multiple private practices across Mumbai (Bombay, India). While working as a dentist in various practices she picked up the positives from them and implemented them into this practice at Oris Dental. She is very friendly by nature and is particularly good at handling children, preventive dentistry and hygiene. Prachi moved to Australia in 2009. Prachi has there on completed her Australian Dental council exams successfully in early 2011 and is now ready to bring in her 12 years of experience to Oris Dental. Prachi also serves as a part time dentist at the Oral Health Services Sunshine Coast in Caloundra Kawana and Nambour as needed.

Davina (Dentist)


Davina has been a part of our family since 2014. After completing her bachelor’s degree from the University of Queensland, Davina has been in private practice in an around the Sunshine coast for a year before joining us full time. Davina shows exemplary skills in building a great relationship and rapport with her patients and is well regarded by her peers. Davina is very highly regarded by her current patients. Davina currently works 3 days a week.

Lise Slack (Dental Hygienist)

Lise Stack

Our dental hygienist Lise Slack is a trained member of the dental team who works together with your dentist in preventing gum diseases and dental decay.

Lise joined OrisDental in 2015 and has worked extensively in private specialist practices. She graduated from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa in 1982 and has had specific training and exposure to an extensive range of periodontal conditions and treatment modalities.

Lise’s dad was a professor in dentistry and this is where her love of teeth comes from. She has invented two specialist oral care products which are available in Australia and several international countries. Lise has also lectured at international dental conferences on the maintenance of dental implants and how to help patients care for their teeth once they have contracted periodontitis.

Both adults and children can benefit from having an appointment with a dental hygienist as they are taught how dental diseases occur and how it can be prevented or managed.

Lise is married to Sam and they have two daughters. They value their family time and love adventurous outdoor sports.

Jesse (Dental Assistant)

Jesse (Dental Assistant)

Jess has been a part of Oris Dental from the outset in 2011. Always cheerful and welcoming Jess is the star amongst our patients at our practice. If you cannot find Jess in the practice she will be at the beach!


Kaela (Receptionist)

Debra (Receptionist)

Kaela arrived at our practice in early 2021. Coming from eight years of retail experience in Northern NSW, she loves working with people and assisting in any way she can. Kaela has also just finished her training as a dental assistant. You will immediately fall in love with her happy, bubbly personality.

Abby (Sr. Dental Assistant)

Abby (Dental Assistant)

Abby is originally from Hervey Bay, but she has been calling the Sunshine Coast home with her husband and two kids for the past four and a half years. Abby completed her cert III in dental assisting in 2015 and is looking to further her studies In the near future. Abby enjoys camping, playing guitar, and travelling
the world with her family.

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    Dr. Param Dass

    Dr. Param Dass

    Param Dass graduated with a Bachelor in Dentistry from the University of Otago, NZ in 2005. He went on to complete his Bachelor in Medicine from the University of Auckland NZ in 2010.

    Param started working part time in our practice since 2015 with special interest in surgical procedures including Dental implants and bone grafting procedures, Surgical extractions including Wisdom teeth and other minor surgical procedures.

    Param is well known for being gentle and caring in treating patients with dental anxiety and maintains a calm demeanour.

    He is also well trained in working with patients with various levels of anxiety, offering dental treatment under Happy Gas, Twilight sedation or under Full general anaesthetic.

    Dr. Brayden Fracchia

    Dr. Brayden Fracchia

    Brayden hails from North Queensland, having completed his Bachelor of Dental Surgery at JCU Cairns, practicing in Hobart and outreach dentistry from Mount Isa over the course of his studies. He has worked with us since 2020. Brayden enjoys becoming a part of a community and enjoys the outdoors and sport in his spare
    time. Having only recently moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast, Brayden is enthusiastic and well versed in all aspects of basic general dentistry and looks forward to bringing North Queensland hospitality to the South East.



    Briar stated off as a trainee dental assistant in our practice mid-2020. She is the youngest member of our practice and is rapidly becoming an integral part of team Oris. Briar completed her Certificate 3 in our practice in 2021 and works full time Dental assistant at Oris Dental.



    Drew is Oris Dental’ newest member, who has only recently moved from his hometown of Rockhampton. He is our Oral Health Therapist, who specializes in oral health education, general check-ups, fillings and more!
    He loves a good chat and a laugh at work. He prioritizes patient’s comfort and likes to encourage an environment where everyone feels a sense of security and safety in the dental setting. When Drew isn’t at work you’ll find him having a refreshing swim at the beach or having his usual dirty chai at his local cafe.



    Jasmine joined our practice in November 2021 and works with our Oral Health Therapist Drew. Jasmine is new to dental assistance, however is quickly taking on any and all challenges that come her way! She loves animals, and spending quality time with her husband and two kids. Welcome to the team!



    Brooke is originally from Brisbane but has been living on the coast since 2017. She brings over 15 years of experience in the dental industry and has had the opportunity to work in London and Melbourne for the Royal Flying Doctors. Brooke enjoys surfing, scuba diving and exploring the many things that the Sunny Coast has to offer.