ZocdocAnswersDo tooth abscesses result in tooth pain?

Question

Do tooth abscesses result in tooth pain?

My teeth hurt when I eat sweet foods. Is this an abscess? Is an abscess like a cavity?

Answer

Tooth pain can arise from irritation of the tooth's nerve, or the gums around the tooth. Each tooth has several layers surrounding a deep nerve root; if these layers are damaged--for example, by a deep cavity--then you may experience spontaneous pain, or pain with chewing. If you have a cavity that has eroded down to the nerve root, then you might have pain when you eat things that are hot or cold. In people with deep cavities or with chipped teeth, it is possible that an abscess could form within the tooth and cause pain. If you did have a dental abscess, then you might also have fever, pain with chewing or with hot or cold foods. The gums around the tooth also have nerve endings that can sense pain. If the gums are irritated or inflamed, then you could have pain when the gums come into contact with hot, cold, or sweet foods. Some other signs of gum inflammation are gums that bleed when you brush your teeth or use dental floss. I recommend that you see a dentist to evaluate your tooth pain. Depending on what your dentist sees when examining your mouth, he or she may then refer to you to an endodontist, which is a type of dentist that specializes in gum disease.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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