A dental abscess (also termed a dentoalveolar abscess, tooth abscess or root abscess), is a localized collection of pus associated with a tooth. The most common type of dental abscess is a periapical abscess, and the second most common is a periodontal abscess. In a periapical abscess, usually the origin is a bacterial infection that has accumulated in the soft, often dead, pulp of the tooth. This can be caused by tooth decay, broken teeth or extensive periodontal disease (or combinations of these factors). A failed root canal treatment may also create a similar abscess.
A dental abscess is a type of odontogenic infection, although commonly the latter term is applied to an infection which has spread outside the local region around the causative tooth.
If left untreated, a severe tooth abscess may become large enough to perforate bone and extend into the soft tissue eventually becoming osteomyelitisand cellulitis respectively. From there it follows the path of least resistance and may spread either internally or externally. The path of the infection is influenced by such things as the location of the infected tooth and the thickness of the bone, muscle and fascia attachments.
Incision and drainage by diode laser for ablation
and coagulation were successful in treating vestibu-
lar space abscesses within a depth of 3 cm. The coag-
ulative zone of the incision created by the diode laser
provided adequate drainage without the need for in-
serting a drain.