A tooth abscess is a collection of infected material (pus) in the center of a tooth. It is due to bacterial infection. A tooth abscess is a complication of tooth decay. It may also occur when a tooth is broken or chipped. Openings in the tooth enamel allow bacteria to infect the center of the tooth (the pulp). Infection may spread from the root of the tooth to the bones supporting the tooth. In Belgium approximately 10 per 100,000 population per year patients are affected. Men are more often afflicted than women (female:male ratio of about 1:1.5, though reports vary). The peak of incidence is between 60 and 80 years of age.
Antibiotics may be given to fight the infection. Warm salt-water rinses may help ease the pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers may relieve the toothache and fever. Future research deals with pointing toward a key role for prompts surgical intervention and timely review. Future research deals with determination of various host and environmental factors that put an individual at risk for development of dental abscess.