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 program.
|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 become