DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Dental abscess. External view of the mouth of a patient suffering from a dental abscess. Severe swelling of the face can be seen at left. A dental abscess is a pus-filled sac which develops in the tissue around the root of a tooth. It occurs most commonly when bacteria infect the pulp of the tooth (central cavity) as a result of tooth decay. An untreated abscess may spread to surrounding tissues and bone. To save the tooth, a dentist usually will drain the abscess by drilling through the tooth crown, into the pulp cavity, to allow the pus to escape. The abscess is cleaned and disinfected, and an antibiotic drug may be prescribed to prevent reinfection.
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