An abscess is a collection of pus in an infection. Microorganisms invade the tissue where there is a break in the skin. Since the mouth is already a breeding ground for bacteria, infections of the mouth have a tendency to develop quickly. A dental abscess is reason for emergency attention before infection spreads or causes irreparable damage to the teeth and gums.


  • Swelling or presence of pus around the teeth and gums
  • Compelling desire to gnaw or chew
  • Tooth pain that is sensitive to touch, heat or cold
  • Facial swelling or fever

Who is at risk?

Diabetics and anyone with an immune deficiency are most prone to the spread of infection.


Failure to treat an abscess can lead to loss of teeth, so prompt medical attention is required to evaluate you for an abscess. A physician or dentist will determine if antibiotics are necessary. The degree of bone and tissue loss will determine whether a root canal or tooth extraction is necessary. The earlier an abscess is treated, the higher the chances of saving the tooth.

Emergency Warning Signs: When should I see a doctor?

Any symptoms of abscess are cause for medical attention. If the symptoms occur after hours, when your dentist is not available, seek emergency attention from an urgent care center or emergency department.

Treatment for dental abscess/tooth infection is available at OnPoint Urgent Care in Aurora, CO.

For more information on dental abscesses, see the following websites:

eMedicine on Dental Abscess

WebMD Overview of Dental Abscesses

Disclaimer: The links above are to sites independent of The pages will open in a new browser window. The information provided is for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your doctor. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding your specific medical questions, treatments, therapies, and other needs.