A tooth abscess or root abscess is pus enclosed in the tissues of the jaw bone at the apex of an infected tooth's root(s). Usually the abscess originates from 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.
Examples of types of dental abscess include:
Endodontic therapy or root canal therapy, colloquially root canal, is a sequence of treatment for the pulp of a tooth which results in the elimination of infection and protection of the decontaminated tooth from future microbial invasion. This set of procedures is commonly referred to as a "root canal". Root canals and their associated pulp chamber are the physical hollows within a tooth that are naturally inhabited by nerve tissue, blood vessels and other cellular entities. Endodontic therapy involves the removal of these structures, the subsequent shaping, cleaning, and decontamination of the hollows with tiny files and irrigating solutions, and the obturation (filling) of the decontaminated canals with an inert filling such as gutta percha and typically a eugenol-based cement. Epoxy resin, which may or may not contain Bisphenol A is employed to bind gutta percha in some root canal procedures.
After endodontic surgery the tooth will be "dead", and if an infection is spread at the apex, root end surgery is required.