According to WebMD, an abscess can be treated by root canal surgery, tooth extraction, an incision in the gum or medicine. Treatment varies on the individual, but the goal of the dentist is to remove the infection, preserve the tooth and avert complications.
WebMD describes the root canal surgery as a process that drains the abscess and removes any diseased root tissue. A crown may be placed on the tooth after a root canal surgery to protect the tooth. Tooth extraction also allows the abscess to drain through the socket, and cutting an opening into the infection gum tissue also help siphon the abscess; a low-level laser can be used to make a less painful incision. Antibiotics help treat infection, and salt water added to warm water and over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen help relieve the pain caused by the abscess.
If an abscess does not drain, infection may spread to the jaw, head and neck. A life-threatening condition caused by sepsis, where infection spreads throughout the body, can also occur from an untreated abscess. If an abscess ruptures on its own, dental treatment is still necessary, even if the pain has subsided. Mayo Clinic states that maintaining poor dental hygiene practices and maintaining a diet high in sugar increase the risk of tooth abscess.