Can a Tooth Abscess Heal?

A dental abscess is the result of a build-up of pus in the gums and teeth. This is caused by an infection and is considered to be an urgent issue that requires treatment from a dentist. Dental abscesses unfortunately do not go away on their own without medical intervention.

Common signs of a dental abscess include the following:

* Severe toothache or pain in the gums
* Redness in the mouth or externally on the face
* Sensitivity to hot or cold
* Foul taste in the mouth
* Difficulty in chewing food or opening the mouth
* Swollen jaw or face
* High fever

If a patient suspects that they have a dental abscess, they should follow up with their dentist right away. Dental abscesses are a serious problem and require prompt treatment. If the patient does not have a regular dentist, they can contact dentists in the area to discuss the urgent situation. Dentists often intentionally block out time in their schedules to accommodate these types of emergency situations. In many cases, the dentist can work with patients who are unexpectedly in need of urgent treatment.

When there is a dental emergency or if the patient realizes they have abscess after normal business hours, they should still call. It is common for dentists to have an answering service or the ability to contact the dentist for urgent situations.

Patients who are experience any of the following symptoms should go directly to the emergency room or call 911:

1. Difficulty breathing
2. Issues with their vision, swelling, or eye discomfort
3. Swelling in the mouth

Dental abscess can result in serious pain. While the patient waits to be seen by the dentist, the following can help in reducing their discomfort:

1. An over-the-counter painkiller such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
2. Eat soft foods including yogurt, eggs, soup, and mashed potatoes; avoid hard or crunchy foods which could cause additional discomfort
3. Avoid consuming sugary, hot, and cold food and beverages
4. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush


In order to treat a dental abscess, patients must work with a dentist. The treatment often involves draining the pus. In cases of an underlying issue that causes the abscess, treatment such as extraction or a root canal may be necessary. Dentists use a local anesthetic to minimize any pain. Patients may also be provided with a prescription for antibiotics or painkillers following the treatment.


Dental abscesses occur due to the build-up of pus under the gums or teeth. In most cases, this is caused by an infection. Below are things that increase a patient’s risk for having a dental abscess:
* Impacted teeth
* Tooth decay or gum disease
* Trauma or an injury
* Chemotherapy

In many cases, a dental abscess can be prevented through the practice of good oral hygiene. Patients should brush their teeth at least twice each day with a toothpaste containing fluoride and floss daily. The patient’s toothbrush should also be replaced every few months or anytime they begin to notice wear. It is important for patients to avoid using tobacco products and consume a balanced diet. Regular visits to the dentist are also critical and can help in the early detection of issues and ensure they are promptly treated.


Dental Abscess Symptoms and Causes