Root abscesses can affect any of the teeth, but the ones most commonly involved are the canines and the upper fourth premolars. Tooth abscesses are extremely painful and are accompanied by fever, reluctance to eat, and depression. You may see pus oozing around the tooth. X-rays confirm the diagnosis and show whether bone is involved.
An abscessed upper fourth premolar causes a characteristic swelling of the face below the eye. Eventually the abscess breaks through the skin and drains pus over the side of the face. A diseased tooth may break through the skin of the lower jaw and produce a similar condition. An abscessed tooth can result in an oralnasal fistula.
Treatment: The abscessed tooth is extracted under anesthesia and the tooth cavity is cleaned and drained. In some cases the tooth can be saved by doing a root canal or endodontic procedure. Antibiotics are used to treat infection. Aftercare at home involves the use of chlorhexidine mouthwashes, as described for periodontitis.