Periapical (root-tip) Abscess
A 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 Root Canal Therapy
or an extraction. In some cases an
antibiotic will also be prescribed.
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). Since most cases of lateral abscess
are due to periodontitis (gum disease), treatment
is part of an overall periodontal (gum) treatment
|An 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
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Disclaimer: The information provided within
is intended to help you better understand dental conditions and procedures.
It is not meant to serve as delivery of medical or dental care. If you have
specific questions or concerns, contact your health care provider.