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17 Jul

Why are dental abscesses so painful?

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Why are dental abscesses so painful?

An acute toothache can be an extremely distressing experience. The oral cavity has numerous neural connections to the brain’s pain centre and this makes the teeth extremely sensitive to pain stimuli. Besides, the gravity of a tooth pain is much more intense than pain in any other part of the body. The fact that the tooth is a unique organ implies that good oral hygiene and prompt treatment of dental problems are of utmost importance.

If you experience an intense and throbbing pain, swollen gums or sensitivity to hot or cold beverages you might probably be a victim of a dental abscess.

Understanding Dental Abscess:

Dental abscess is a term used to describe a type of bacterial infection that occurs either at the roots of the teeth or in between the teeth and the gums. The infection leads to the accumulation of dead tissues, pus and fluids resulting in the formation of an abscess. The abscess creates a barrier and prevents the spread of infection to other parts of the body. It develops in response to the body’s natural defence mechanism to localize an infection.

Types of Abscesses:

Based on the region of impact, abscesses are of the following two types: Periapical Abscess:
This form of abscess develops in the dental pulp and is primarily triggered by tooth decay. A dental decay may cause the protective layers of the tooth to disintegrate. This exposes the pulp to infections and may subsequently lead to the development of an abscess.

Periodontal Abscess:

This form of infection originates in the teeth’s supporting structures like the periodontium, which lies between the gums and the teeth. The abscess commonly occurs as an aggravated condition of a gum disease. Certain gum diseases may cause the gums to detach from the teeth. Food particles and bacteria may accumulate in the gum pockets leading to infection and formation of an abscess.

Symptoms of a dental abscess:

Some of the symptoms associated with the formation of a dental abscess include:

  • Severe toothache
  • Swollen and tender gums
  • Sensitivity of the teeth
  • Swollen jaws
  • Fever
  • Difficulty in opening mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth

Causes of a painful dental abscess:

The intense pain associated with dental abscesses is caused by the following two factors:


With the rapid growth in size, abscesses apply significant pressure against the surface of tooth and bone. This leads to severe pain similar to that of a bruise and makes the area sensitive to touch or bite.


The predominant cause for the occurrence of an abscess is a bacterial invasion. The bacteria proliferate and produce toxins within the tooth, gum and the jaw bone. The body immediately responds to the spread of infection by producing pain signals.

The intensity of the pain is largely determined by factors like:

  • The type of bacteria involved
  • Resistance power of your body
  • Duration for which the tooth or gum has been infected.

Treatment of a dental abscess:

A dental abscess indicates the presence of a severe tooth infection and requires immediate attention. If left untreated, it can pose other health threats. If you notice the presence of symptoms of an abscess, get in touch with a dentist to prevent the infection from aggravating further.

After proper evaluation, the course of the treatment will be determined by your dentist. It usually involves restricting the infection, removing the pus and treating the cause of the infection. Antibiotics may also be prescribed if there is the presence of symptoms like fever and swelling of the lymph glands. If the infection is severe, further treatment procedures like root a canal or tooth extraction may be suggested. Prompt treatment can relieve the pain and pave the way for speedy recovery.

If you are looking for a dentist in Bentleigh to take care of your dental health, Smile Quest Dentists will suffice your purpose. We shoulder responsibilities towards our patients’ and safeguard their interests. We have highly qualified dental restorative practitioners to ensure that your oral hygiene is in the right hands. We use some of the most advanced technologies in dental practice. Whether it is dealing with a simple check-up or a complex surgery, our services encompass a commitment to innovation and excellence. We offer General Dentistry, Emergency Dentist, Teeth Whitening, Dental Implant, Cosmetic Dentistry, Fast Braces and Dentures. Call us on 1300 630 766 for an appointment or drop us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also fill our online contact form for a quick response.

Visit us:
613 South Road
Bentleigh East VIC 3165.


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