What does abscess tooth x-ray look like?

If you think you have an abscessed tooth or have questions about which tooth abscess stages you’re going through, always talk to your dentist. They’ll need to take an X-ray of your tooth to make a firm diagnosis, even if there are visible symptoms. The X-ray will help determine the extent of internal damage and which steps should come next. Such as an extraction vs. a root canal treatment.

Not to scare you or anything, but in a total worst-case scenario, untreated tooth abscesses can allow infection to spread into your face and your brain. There are actually documented cases where untreated dental abscesses resulted in death. This scenario is a big issue in children especially when abscessed baby teeth aren’t treated in a timely manner.

This is an example of a back tooth that developed a cyst (the dark area around the tip of the root). A root canal was performed and you can see some of the root canal filling material in the dark area, which represents an accessory canal. The prognosis for this tooth is good because the accessory canal was found and filled.

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These are the most common types of dental abscesses. They are the result of an infected or dying tooth nerve, with a developing cyst at the tip of the tooth root that ultimately drains through the gums and into the mouth. Periapical abscesses can only be managed with endodontic therapy.

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Pulp Decay

This tooth has what is called an “accessory canal,” which is a canal that splinters off in an unexpected direction. This tooth had to be retreated due to the first root canal failing, which is evident by the dark area, which is where the arrow is pointing. Upon retreatment, the accessory canal was found and filled, and the prognosis for this tooth is good.

The yellow arrow above indicates internal resorption. This occurs when the cells inside the tooth destroy the root from the inside out. This process usually happens very slowly over a matter of months or years and is usually associated with some sort of trauma to the tooth.

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It’s extremely common for tooth abscesses to “come and go”, with visible symptoms for a few days and then gone the next. Whereas if it’s simply something like an ulcer, the blister tends to appear on otherwise completely healthy gum tissue and heals within a week or two.

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Treatment

This is a different tooth that also had an accessory canal, in the area indicated by the red arrow. The prognosis for this tooth is also good, but as with most root canals, a periodic exam and x-ray are needed to monitor for any issues.

The treatment for internal resorption usually takes a two or more appointments. First, a medicated filling is placed and then, after a few weeks, the medicated filling is removed and the procedure is completed in the conventional way. This type of condition requires annual examination by x-ray to check on the tooth. The prognosis is fair to poor, but the only other option is to extract the tooth.

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In really severe situations, if the tooth abscess is overtaking your tooth, and there is no way to save the tooth, tooth extraction may be your only treatment choice. By then, you’ll also need to come up with a way to replace the tooth shortly thereafter.

Early screenings, regular dental exams, and diagnostic digital X-rays can eliminate the cause and progression of a dental abscess. Sadly, a lot of people just don’t listen to their dentist’s recommendations regarding abscessed teeth, especially when there isn’t any noticeable pain.

Every tooth has a living, functional nerve and blood vessels that run down the center of the root. The nerve is responsible for “feeding” your tooth structure and keeping it alive. But if that nerve or tissue supply is somehow compromised or infected, you’ll develop a periapical abscess.

5 Stages Of An Abscessed Tooth & What To Do

Try not to wait for more severe tooth abscess stages before seeking out a professional opinion. See a dentist at the earliest inkling that there’s something wrong with your tooth.

Thankfully, early dental care keeps most people out of the hospital. But if you try to avoid trips to the dentist’s office, most untreated abscesses typically lead to painful emergencies and tooth loss.

This is what the completed root canal looks like on an x-ray. This tooth had three canals, which you can see by the white filling material in the root portion of the tooth.

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