A tooth abscess is an infection in the tissue at the center of the tooth. It occurs when an opening caused by damage or decay in the enamel of the tooth allows bacteria to enter the tooth and begin to grow.
Symptoms of a tooth abscess include pain, bad breath, fever, swelling in the jaw and temperature sensitivity. Treatments include over-the-counter pain relievers, antibiotics and warm saline rinses. A dentist may perform a root canal to attempt to preserve the tooth, but it may be necessary to pull the tooth. Severe infections may require hospital admittance and surgery to drain infected tissue from the gum and jaw.