There’s no getting away from the fact that a dental abscess is a real dental emergency. Aside from the fact that it can be debilitating and painful, if left, it can lead to severe and even life-threatening conditions, hence the need to call an emergency dentist for help. Because of the need to act fast, it pays to understand the tooth abscess symptoms. This way, you can distinguish a problem toothache from a full-blown dental emergency.

Before we dive into some of the tooth abscess symptoms, it’s essential to understand what a dental abscess is and, more importantly, what causes it. So let’s examine exactly that. 



A tooth abscess is, in effect, a pocket of pus caused by a bacterial infection. Our body normally produces pus in response to an infection, and this pocket can occur in various places but predominantly at the tip of the tooth root where it meets the gum. This is known as a periapical tooth abscess. Typically, bacteria has entered the tooth via an untreated cavity or a chip and travels down to the tooth root. Unsurprisingly, it can be incredibly painful.

Treating this as a dental emergency, a dentist will seek to drain the pus containing the infection and treat it with a course of antibiotics. In some cases, the tooth can be saved by carrying out root canal therapy; in other cases, the tooth will need to be pulled. Either way, leaving a dental abscess untreated can lead to life-threatening conditions, particularly if the infection spreads to other parts of the body. 

It’s important to note that a dental abscess won’t go away on its own. If the abscess ruptures, it may alleviate some of the pain, making you think that the problem is over, but in truth, you should still contact an emergency dentist who should still treat it as a dental emergency.    

Now you know what a dental abscess is, what causes it and why you should contact an emergency dentist; let’s dive into some of the symptoms. 


Tooth abscess symptoms and signs

The top signs and symptoms of a dental abscess include:

  • Constant or severe throbbing toothache
  • dental abscess signs leichhardtSensitive teeth that are particularly susceptible to hot or cold temperatures 
  • Pain or discomfort when chewing or biting
  • Facial swelling around the face and neck
  • Tender or swollen lymph nodes – particularly around the neck and face.
  • A foul odour emanating from the oral cavity
  • A sudden rush of foul-tasting fluid followed by immediate pain relief is a surefire sign that your abscess has ruptured.
  • Facial swelling
  • Difficulty in breathing 

In truth, any of these tooth abscess symptoms are pretty noticeable but may not always be associated with a dental abscess. This is why they’re sometimes ignored. Instead, call your dentist immediately if you show any signs or symptoms of a tooth abscess. 


What about if you experience facial swelling or breathing difficulties?

If you have facial swelling and can’t get to your local dentist, then a visit to your nearest emergency centre is a must. Also, visit your emergency centre if you have difficulty breathing or swallowing, as this can indicate that the infection may have spread to other areas. 

If you think you may have any of the tooth abscess symptoms listed above, then don’t delay; visit the team at Leichardt Marketplace Dental. We’re an experienced and caring team who provides same-day dental emergency appointments. We’re also open Saturday and Sunday, should you need us. Call us on (02) 9171 0840 or book an appointment online and let us help to get you out of pain fast. 



Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.




References – Toth Abscess Overview 

AAE.Org – What Is A Root Canal?,disinfected%2C%20then%20filled%20and%20sealed