Can a Tooth Abscess Go Away on Its Own?

In short, a tooth abscess, without treatment, will not go away.

First step: Identifying an abscess

You’ll know if you have a dental abscess if you have a pocket of pus forming on your gums, which a bacterial infection has caused. Abscesses usually form in different areas near the tooth, either at the top of the root or in the gums at the side of the root. 

There are two types of abscesses:

1. Periapical tooth abscess happens due to an untreated dental cavity. This is where bacteria enter the innermost part of a tooth either through deep cavities or cracks, causing an abscess at the tip of the tooth root. 

2. Periodontal abscess is a dental emergency that results from bacterial accumulation in your periodontal pockets, which starts in your gums and can spread to other areas in your mouth.

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Abscess symptoms:

  • – Severe and constant toothache 
  • – Pain in the jawbone, neck or ear
  • – Throbbing pain and discomfort when biting or chewing
  • – A fever, or swelling in the face, cheek or neck
  • – Tender and swollen lymph nodes under the jaw or neck
  • – Foul odour in your mouth
  • – A sudden rush of foul-smelling and tasty salty fluid
  • – Pain relief after rupture

Can an abscess disappear without treatment?

In short, a tooth abscess, without treatment, will not go away. In instances where the abscess ruptures, the pain will improve, which might make you think that the problem has been solved and the abscess has gone away. But that’s not quite true. 

What really happens

When an abscess ruptures and has not been drained by a professional, patients risk developing an infection that spreads to the jaw and other areas of the head and neck. Of course, the worst danger possible when failing to treat a dental abscess is death as a result of a widespread infection in the body that’s so severe that no amount of antibiotics can control it. 

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Other risks of ignoring a dental abscess include:

  • – Tooth loss
  • –  Infection to bone
  • – Infection to soft tissues
  • – Septicemia and abscess of the brain

Causes of dental abscesses

Tooth abscesses usually occur due to bacteria invading the dental pulp, the innermost part of the tooth that contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. To put it in plain English, dental abscesses are an advanced form of tooth decay, which can be prevented through good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist. Not visiting the dentist for a filling and ignoring cavities, chips and cracks in the tooth can contribute to a dental abscess forming some sort of infection developing in the mouth or inflammation of the tip of the tooth root.

Treatment for a dental abscess

Typically, the dentist will drain away the pus, but if we find that the problem with your tooth has caused the abscess, we might recommend root canal treatment to resolve the problem and protect the tooth. In worst-case scenarios, the tooth will need to be removed. 


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