You can develop a tooth abscess so quickly that it's a little scary. Having said that, although technically the abscess has been developing unchecked for a while, the noticeable symptoms may have only appeared within a matter of hours. What sort of treatment is needed for this painful, potentially dangerous dental infection?
An abscess may have originated from tooth decay, with corrosive bacteria ultimately attacking the tooth's central pulp, which is its nerve. Despite the necrosis (death) of the pulp tissues, further infection can develop at the tip of the tooth's root system, causing an accumulation of pus at the base of the tooth. This can form a pustule, or gum boil, which looks a lot like a pimple. The resulting inflammation causes compression on surrounding tissues and can be extraordinarily painful. An abscess that began inside the tooth structure is classified as periapical. There's also a (less common) type of abscess that can begin in the gum tissues, and this is called a periodontal abscess, which is no less painful.
Not to alarm you, but the results of an untreated tooth abscess can be catastrophic. The number of potent bacteria traveling through your bloodstream can cause organ failure, and there have even been fatalities when the bacterial infection has reached the patient's brain. It must be stressed that such an extreme outcome is incredibly rare, and dental abscesses are highly treatable—but it's a matter of seeking immediate, emergency dental treatment. When your pain escalates and a gum boil forms, along with considerable inflammation of your gum tissues, you mustn't wait and see if your condition will improve. You need immediate dental treatment.
An emergency dentist will first seek to relieve pressure on affected periodontal tissues by rupturing your gum boil. This will release foul-tasting pus into your mouth, which will be immediately rinsed away. You will experience instant relief, and your dentist can staunch the blood that likely follows the release of pus. You may be obliged to begin a course of antibiotics to purge the infection from your bloodstream. The tooth decay that permitted the infection to begin must be treated, and this can sometimes be performed by an emergency dentist. However, the necrotic tooth pulp may need to be removed (via root canal treatment), after which the tooth might need a dental crown—so you may be referred back to your own dentist for this stage.
Please don't ever underestimate the severity of a dental abscess. For more info, contact a local dentist about emergency dental treatment.