Before you start a diagnosis, please read all of the information below.
A toothache can be caused by many things including tooth decay, gum disease, broken teeth, abscesses or jaw problems. A dental abscess is a collection of pus in or around the tooth and can be a very debilitating and painful condition.
If you think you have a dental abscess then you should see your dentist as soon as possible. Regular analgesia should be the first option to treat a dental abscess. Take painkillers to ease the discomfort. Ibuprofen is the preferred painkiller for dental abscesses, but if you're unable to take it for medical reasons, then take paracetamol instead. It is important to read the information with the painkillers to ensure you take them safely.
Please contact your dentist first to get an emergency appointment. Only use this service if you are having difficulties in accessing an emergency dental appointment, then in the meantime, we may be able to prescribe an emergency antibiotic if clinically appropriate. Antibiotics do NOT cure a toothache, and you will need to be assessed to see whether an antibiotic is appropriate for your dental problem.
A dental abscess will not go away on its own. It will require draining of the pus. A dentist will do this by either piercing the abscess or drilling a small hole to allow the pus to escape. Once the pus has been drained an antibiotic is often unnecessary. If left alone the infection may spread.
Please see the Common Treatments section below for further information.