What Causes An Abscess? Your Bedford Dentist Explains

What Causes An Abscess? Your Bedford Dentist Explains

A tooth or gum abscess can be very painful and needs prompt treatment.

An abscess of the tooth or gum happens where there is a local infection, which can be due to a minor injury or even just irritation of the area. They usually take the form of a swelling which is filled with a yellow fluid called pus.

Whilst the swelling remains intact, the pus can’t escape and the swelling becomes even more pronounced, and often more painful as the pressure builds.

An abscess can flare up quite quickly and so should also be treated quickly too.

Because they are usually quite painful, few people will delay in having them treated, but failure to do so though may result in damage to the tooth and surrounding bone. So don’t hesitate to call us for an appointment!

Periodontal abscess

This is caused by infection in the space between the tooth and the gum. It can happen if the area has not been properly cleaned and food becomes trapped for a period of time in this area. Unless treated, there is a real risk of infection spreading to the bone.

Tooth abscess

This is when an abscess occurs inside the tooth. This happens when the nerves in the root canals are either dead or dying and like a gum abscess, this can also spread to the surrounding bone.

Although it is rare, oral abscesses can also spread to other areas of the body, potentially causing other health problems.

Treating an abscess

If you notice an abscess in your mouth, even if it is causing you no discomfort, you should always have this checked by one of the team at The Dental Centre Bedford. We will always see you as soon as possible, but, in the meantime, try to keep the area as clean as possible. Using a saline solution swilled around the mouth will help with this. It may even draw out some of the pus and relieve the pressure. Don’t be fooled into thinking this has ‘cured’ it though, it will return and still needs treatment.

Where a gum abscess is present, the dentist will drain it and clean the area. You may be given antibiotics too, depending on the situation.  Where an abscess has formed within a tooth, this will need to be drained via a small hole, following which the tooth can be treated with a root canal procedure.


The best way to prevent abscesses occurring in the first place is to keep your mouth as healthy as possible. Regular brushing, flossing and ongoing visits to the hygienist at The Dental Centre Bedford for a ‘scale and polish’ are all essential if you wish to maintain a healthy mouth.

If you have not been to the dentist for some time, an oral health check up is recommended. Please call our Bedford dental centre on 01234 819868 to arrange an appointment.