How do I know if I Have a tooth abscess

How do I know if I Have a tooth abscess ?

An emergency call at 3 am to a dentist from a person complaining of severe pain , where analgesics are of no use and he just wants the pain to go away. This is the typical image of the dental abscess. hence the question How do I know if I Have a tooth abscess ?

However there are many stages of formation of the abscess before reaching this intorreable last stage,so we should know what is the dental abscess and how to treat it ?

So how do I know if I have a tooth abscess ?

What is dental abscess ?

Dental abscess is an accumulation of pus surrounding the tooth , according to its location and cause it is classified into 3 categories :

  • Gingival abscess:

 where the pus confined to the upper part of the gum and we can see it as a plump around the tooth.

  • Periodontal abscess: 

the pus accumulated between the tooth and the bone supporting it.

  • Periapical abscess: 

the abscess is located at the end of the tooth roots.

how do I know if I have a tooth abscess ?

To answer the question “ how do I know if I have a tooth abscess ?” ,first you should know the different pathways of abscess formation ; their causes and symptoms.

Different pathways of abscess formation:

  • Gingival abscess:

 it is a very simple case where a foreign body like a popcorn shell could penetrate the gingiva accidentally causing abscess formation.

The dentist treats it by applying local anesthesia and incising it.


 slight pain due to the inflamed gum and a plump seen around the tooth.

  • Periodontal abscess:

 it is formed as a result of a clear thin layer called the dental plaque, this layer is full of bacteria and formed normally on our teeth after eating.

If the plaque left for a long time without brushing it causes gum diseases and inflamed pockets, at the bottom of these pockets abscess could arise.


 tolerable but annoying dull pain – swollen and inflamed gums – leaking pus from the gums could happen – bad odor and foul taste – tooth loosening in severe cases.

  • Periapical abscess: 

usually when people ask “ how do i know if i have a tooth abscess ?” they are complaining of a periapical abscess.

Periapical abscess also formed due to the plaque layer causing a dental caries, by time the decay deepens more and enters the tooth pulp leading to its inflammation and abscess formation.

The periapical abscess symptoms are generally more severe than the periodontal one.

symptoms :

throbbing severe pain – pain increases at night or by lying down – severe pain on biting – possibly swelling of the face happens.

Keep in mind that the symptoms of all types of dental abscesses could be relieved if the pus found an escape way to leak but the infection is still there and many complications could happen if not treated properly.

Preventing dental abscess formation :

After answering the question “ how do i know if i have a tooth abscess ?” here comes another question “ how to prevent dental abscess formation ?”

As prevention is always the best choice you could prevent abscess formation by very simple tips such as :

  • Brush your teeth twice a day to remove the plaque layer.
  • Flossing helps remove plaque from places where the brush can’t reach.
  • Regular visits for the dentist every 6 months for checkup.
  • Reducing sugary meals and keeping on a healthy diet really helps.


Dental abscess is an accumulation of pus and it is categorized into 3 types gingival , periodontal and periapical abscess.

There are different ways of abscess formation that must be noticed and the symptoms vary according to the dental abscess’s type.

Preventing dental abscess can be done by a slight change in the lifestyle to never be bothered again by the question “ how do I know if I have a tooth abscess ?”.


What’s to know about dental abscesses?

Dental abscess

What Is an Abscessed Tooth?

drug information

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