Dental Problems

Dental Abscess – Types of Dental Abscess

Among all tooth problems, dental abscess is one of the common problems associated with tooth decay or adjoining structures of the tooth. The condition is usually caused by nerve or tissue damage of the tooth or the gums. In this article, there is a brief discussion of dental abscess and the types of dental abscess.

What is Dental Abscess?

The accumulation of thick fluid or pus is called an abscess. Pus or the thick fluid usually contains dead tissue, bacteria and white blood cells. These bacteria present in the pus cause infection. The collection of pus in a tooth and/or in adjoining structures is called dental abscess.

Types of dental abscess

Dental abscesses are classified into 2 main types, based on the abscess which begins in a tooth or in an adjoining structures.

  1. Periapical abscess:

    In this type, the abscess begins in the center of the tooth (in the pulp cavity). This type of abscess occurs most commonly. It usually develops as a tooth decay, which erodes the protective layers (enamel and dentine) of the tooth. Thus, the tooth decay allows the entry of bacteria into the pulp cavity and causes an infection.

    The infection progresses within the pulp to cause abscess. If the nerve or tissue within the tooth is dead due to injury or any other reason, then that tooth is prone to infection and may lead to periapical abscess.

  2. Periodontal abscess:

    In this type, the abscess begins in the adjoining structures of the teeth. For example, periodontium which lies between the gum and tooth. This type commonly develops as a gum disease, such as periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused as the inflammation or infection of the tissues which surround the teeth. These gum diseases cause the gums to become loose or detached from the teeth.

    As a result, it causes pockets that may be attacked or filled with bacteria or other germs which progress to form a periodontal abscess. It may also develop due to the gum injury or periodontium. As this type of abscess causes swelling near the tooth, it is called as “gum ball”.

These are the two main types of abscess which are mostly caused due to injury or death of tissues or nerves within the tooth and the adjoining structures of the teeth.

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