Multiple types of tooth abscess can occur for a variety of reasons. As the name implies, a tooth abscess develops in or around one tooth. The abscess is a pus-filled pocket caused by infectious bacteria. Periodontal abscesses occur in the gums and at the sides of the root of teeth. Periapical abscesses form at the tip of a tooth's root. Periapical abscesses are usually the result of a cavity, prior dental work, or an injury. To treat a tooth abscess, dentists will drain the pus and remove the infection. The tooth can sometimes be saved through a root canal, but there are other cases where the teeth require pulling. Failing to treat an abscess can cause potentially life-threatening complications.
It's common to experience cheek swelling as a result of a tooth abscess. Dental abscesses cause pus to form at the roots of teeth. The bacteria causing the infection will continue to cause problems until they're treated. Failing to treat the abscess can cause the infection to spread, which can lead to swelling throughout the patient's entire face. The infection usually causes swelling on the gum around the tooth first, but cheek swelling occurs when cellulitis sets in. Cellulitis is serious because the swelling can quickly spread once it starts. When individuals notice abnormal swelling of any kind, it's time to see a doctor. Swelling and inflammation are often immune responses to infections, and they occur when the immune system is trying to fight off bacteria. Some infections can be handled by the immune system without needing treatment, but others require antibiotics. In the case of cellulitis and tooth abscesses, patients must get treatment before the infection becomes potentially deadly.