Plaza Dental Group 515 612 7148  1089 Jordan Creek Pkwy #100, West Des Moines, IA 50266

Tooth Abscess: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention


Out of all diseases that affect oral health, tooth abscess is one of the most painful conditions and can cause great discomfort. The pain usually tends to be throbbing and continuous, making it difficult to even eat or drink.

Diagnosis of tooth abscess

A tooth abscess is a bacterial infection that leads to a pus pocket formation in the gums. It occurs when bacteria infect the tooth cavity and cause the gum tissues to degrade.

Three most common types of tooth abscess:

  • Periapical abscess – This form of abscess occurs in the tooth’s root, in the alveolar bone.
  • Gingival abscess – This infection affects the gum tissue lining the teeth, causing the gums to swell and pain.
  • Periodontal abscess – The abscess is formed in the gum pockets, where bacteria can grow and potentially spread to the surrounding tissue.

Symptoms of Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess is extremely painful, and you may feel a sharp pain in your gums or near the affected tooth. Following are a few other symptoms you might experience:

  • Swollen gums
  • Fever
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty in eating or drinking
  • Restlessness
  • Foul taste in the mouth
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Pain across the ear, neck, or jaw

Causes of Tooth Abscess

Lack of good oral hygiene makes your mouth prone to a lot of bacteria. It is the main cause of most oral diseases, including dental plaque, which can lead to a tooth abscess.

  • Tooth decay – Poor oral health and unhealthy food choices can cause dental plaque, further leading to tooth decay. If left untreated, tooth decay can cause tooth abscess.
  • Gum infection – Infection in the gum, gum tissue, or in the pockets between the teeth and the gum can also lead to a tooth abscess.
  • Infection after dental treatment – Infections after dental procedures like root canals, implants, and extractions can cause tooth abscess.

Treatment of Tooth Abscess

Your dentist will first evaluate the pain and severity of the abscess and then accordingly suggest treatment. The condition, if not severe, could be treated with antibiotics. However, if antibiotics fail, the next course of action would be a root canal to save the tooth. If the root canal also proves to be ineffective in removing the infection, and if the infection returns, or if the condition of the tooth is exceptionally bad, your dentist will have to get your tooth extracted.

Prevention of Tooth Abscess

Maintaining good oral health is the key to avoid tooth abscess. Following are a few helpful tips to prevent this condition from occurring:

  • Make healthy dietary choices
  • Avoid sugary and starchy foods
  • Floss and brush your teeth regularly – ideally, twice a day
  • Visit your dentist at least once every six months
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste

Follow good oral hygiene and be regular with your dental appointments for proper dental care. If you are looking for the best dentist in West Des Moines, get in touch with our expert dentists at the Plaza Dental Group.

Plaza Dental Group

Plaza Dental Group is a leading group of dentists in Des Moines, IA that provides high-quality dentistry in a comfortable and stress-free environment. We have a team of caring and highly-skilled professionals that uses state-of-the-art technology and delivers excellent service to the patients. Request an appointment today!

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4.6
Based on 170 reviews
As usual, I only waited a few minutes until Talia came to bring me to the back. The treatment itself was pleasant and efficient and everybody was very friendly and helpful. I definitely recommend this place!
Martina Walther
Martina Walther
This place is the BEST. I cannot say enough about how great Lacey is and the job she does! I was so impressed by Plaza Dental Group compared to previous dentists I've visited that I won't be going anywhere else. Highly recommend Lacey, Dr. Odland, and Dr. Dietrich - they are highly educated and knowledgeable, very thorough with their care and listening to your needs, inform/explain things every step of the way, and are so enjoyable and fun to be around. Wish I could give more than 5 stars!read more
Jasenn Greiner
Jasenn Greiner
Dr Colin Odland is the best! He is very knowledgeable, patient, kind and makes sure you are doing ok as he works. I highly recommend him, especially patients that have had bad experiences with dentists in the past.
Debora Lynn
Debora Lynn
I just switched to Plaza because it’s closer to my work/home and I’d give them 100 stars if I could! My hygienist Talia had amazing attention to detail (and I’m known to be very particular) and Dr. Odland’s chairside manner was amazing. I don’t know why I didn’t come here sooner!
Derek Zarn
Derek Zarn
I had a great experience at Plaza Dental in West Des Moines. Lacey was the nicest person to work with. I had the Zoom whitening done and Lacey was excellent. She answered all my questions and explained everything in great detail. Thank you for a wonderful visit and my bright white teeth.
Barb Lang
Barb Lang
I had a great experience today at Plaza Dental Group! As you know- going to the dentist can always be nerve racking to many people. The staff was friendly and communicated well with me throughout the process!They even had one of their more seasoned and veteran staff members (Suzie) stop by just to say hi! Talk about a “day brightner” on a Monday morning! It was much appreciated!Plaza Dental Group is not just making my smile better, they are making my life better!#friendlyservice#feelslikefamily#newbffs!read more
Shane Kennedy
Shane Kennedy
Susie does a great job. She makes sure I'm comfortable and makes sure I'm happy with service. Whole office is very professional and personable. Answers any questions and is straight forward about plans and payment options.
reaven 435
reaven 435
Huge shout out to Lacey! You really make going to the dentist less stressful with your positive energy and your desire to get to know your client on a personal level…Great job and thank you!
Scott Loecke
Scott Loecke
Great dental office in West DM! Susie was awesome and did great work, even let me pick the music! They obviously care about client experience here and I am glad to have found this gem of a dentist.
Jared Winkers
Jared Winkers
I’ve been so impressed and grateful for the care I’ve received at Plaza Dental! From cleanings to potential periodontal issues, Lacey and Dr. J have been on top of my progress. Highly educated, thorough, incredibly friendly, and patient-focused. I would highly recommend them!
Cynthia Shidler
Cynthia Shidler
The Plaza Dental staff is just the BEST! I always enjoy coming in for my cleanings and my Invisalign appointments. I always feel at home like I'm a part of the family. Thank you all for that. A big shoutout to Dr. Dietrich, Susan (Suzie), and Noel. I love you guys so much!!!! Thank you all for your contribution on this journey to a beautiful smile. Xoxo!!!!read more
Savion Solé
Savion Solé
My experience was amazing! Everyone was so kind and answered all my questions. I am usually one who has a fear of dentist, but I felt so comfortable and relaxed which I have never experienced at a dental office before.
Taylor Moore
Taylor Moore
My experience with the Plaza Dental Group has been amazing! The receptionist was delightful when I initially called to schedule my appointment. She had me laughing. I was warmly greeted and didn't have to wait long. They were non judgemental and thorough in my initial examination. I was given a detailed plan of action to address my issues. Today my appointment with Dr. Odland was excellent. He has the most gentle touch by the way. A must in a Dentist in my opinion. Aaron a future dentist helped make me comfortable and he assisted Dr. Odland perfectly while keeping me comfortable throughout the process. My overall experience has been wonderful. I highly recommend this experienced group of professionals. They've got a lifelong client with me.read more
MS Cacklebottom
MS Cacklebottom
Lacey does an amazing job- highly recommend her for hygiene needs. Also- Dr. Jay is hands down the best dentist I’ve ever seen. These folks deal with your anxiety in a positive way, are supportive and helpful — and you leave there feeling better and definitely being a little more proud of your smile!read more
Nick Ryan
Nick Ryan
I always have THE best experiences at Plaza Dental. The entire staff is amazing and friendly. Especially Susie and Noel who are simply THE best! I highly recommend for regular dental visits and I was highly impressed with my Invisalign treatment. I actually look forward to going to the dentist now! Love it!read more
Jamie Petersen
Jamie Petersen
I recently had cosmetic surgery. Dr. Dietrich and her assistant Joel were so professional and did excellent work. I am beyond pleased with my new smile!
LR Meyer
LR Meyer
To the whole plaza dental family you guys are the best I strongly recommend you guys to every one🙂🙂🙂 really kind nice people and do the best job EVER!!! Doctor JAY JENSEN you rock and congratulations on your move,also to all the staff you ladies made me feel very comfortable thank you thank you god bless.Doctor Jay Jensen keep doing your thing🙂 and the ladies up front you guys double rock🙂🙂 thanks for opening the door for me Lol, Alvin Thanks Plaza!!!!read more
Alvin Lee
Alvin Lee
This place is amazing. I feel the most comfortable and at ease here over any dental office I've ever been to and I've been around the block. Lacey is best although one time she wore white after labor day, but I won't fault her for that.
David Prins
David Prins
My dental hygienist, Sara, is the kindest person to work with. She is honest with her overview and analysis. She is friendly and happy to talk to you. I’ve never had a bad experience at Plaza and would recommend anyone come in for a consult or to be a new client with the dental practice. Thank you Sara for all that you do!read more
Kevin Black
Kevin Black
Plaza Dental Group
Plaza Dental Group. 1089 Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 100, West Des Moines, IA 50266

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Although we accept all major dental insurance plans, we currently do not accept any new Delta Wellness, Medicaid, or any other state-funded insurance.