Dental Treatment Options For An Acute Periradicular Abscess

3 November 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

Periradicular tissue surrounds the roots of the teeth providing housing and protection to a collection of nerves, blood cells, and tissues that help keep the tooth alive. If infection or trauma inflames the tissue, pus can fill up and create a painful abscess. Leaving the abscess untreated can allow the infection to spread further throughout your mouth or into your bloodstream.

How can your general or family dentist help with a periradicular abscess? Here are a few potential treatment options to discuss with your dentist as soon as possible.

Root Canal Therapy

The tissue inflammation typically comes from an infection that starts within a nearby tooth then travels down the root canal into the base of the roots. Your dentist will need to clear out that inner infection with root canal therapy before treating the abscess, or infected material could simply move straight back into the tissue.

Root canal therapy requires the dentist to open up the affected tooth with a drill, scrape out the infected pulp with a dental tool, and then wash the canal with an antibiotic rinse. The tooth is then sealed shut with a dental crown to prevent new infection from entering through the hole.

If the infection has settled deep into the roots, your dentist might perform an additional procedure called an apicectomy to trim off the affected root tips then seal the roots shut with a biocement.

Scaling and Root Planing

Once the infection within the tooth has cleared, your dentist will lance the abscess to drain the pus and potentially treat the area with a topical antibiotic. The dentist might want to perform a deeper clean to the affected tissue and the surrounding area via a scaling and root planing.

Scaling and root planing take the traditional dental cleaning a few steps further. The dentist will use a combination of tools to deeply clean the surfaces of the gums and teeth as well as the spaces between.


The abscess can stretch out the gum tissue to the point that the tissue won't shrink back to its original size. The dentist might then decide to perform a gingivectomy to trim off the excess tissue and then stitch the remaining tissue back together. Over time, the soft tissue will heal together to form a solid piece again.

Performing a gingivectomy can help beyond cosmetic improvements. The loose gum tissue can trap oral bacteria and create a fresh infection. For more information, visit a site like