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Dental Negligence Solicitor - Abscess and Gingivitis Compensation Claim


Dental abscesses or tooth abscesses are more severe than gingivitis which is bacterial infection and inflammation of the gum. An abscess consists of pus produced by bacteria occurring within or around the tooth that may also compromise the gum and adjacent bone structures. A tooth abscess is usually a complication of severe tooth decay. It can also happen when a tooth is broken, chipped or fractured, allowing bacteria into the centre of the tooth. Infection can spread from the centre of the tooth to the adjacent tissue of the gum and to the bone. If you believe that your tooth abscess was caused by inadequate dental treatment you may need to take advice from a dental negligence solicitor as soon as possible - there are time limits.

Dental Negligence Tooth Abscess

Pus contains live bacteria, dead bacteria and dead human tissue along with white blood cells trying to kill off the infection. The end result is often a painful toothache however some abscesses are asymptomatic but nevertheless damage the structure of the tooth, the gum and the bone. Whilst the toothache may stop once the pulp of the tooth which includes the nerve has been irredeemably damaged, even without pain the bacteria may continue to eat through tissue and bone.

Tooth Abscess Symptoms

The main symptoms of a tooth abscess include a continuous severe toothache that people describe as being sharp, shooting, throbbing or gnawing pain. You can often taste a bitter taste in the mouth; you feel ill or uneasy; you can have a nasty breath odour; it can hurt to chew and it can be difficult to tolerate hot and cold in your mouth; you can also have a fever, swollen glands of your neck and a swelling of your jaw. Swelling of the jaw area is a serious sign which needs prompt medical attention.

Dentists can identify an abscess because the tooth is sore when the dentist taps on it or when you bite down tightly with that tooth. The gums may be reddened and swollen and there may be visible pus draining from the abscess.


Treatment is usually designed to kill the infection while still saving the tooth. The dentist may prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Sometimes he or she will recommend salt water rinses in order to soothe and clean out the abscessed area. Pain relievers may be prescribed to kill the pain. The dentist may need to do a root canal in order to kill off the infection harboured within the tooth itself. A crown may need to be necessary. If the infection is severe, surgery may need to be performed to drain the abscess or it may be necessary to remove the tooth entirely.


Gingivitis is a less serious condition that only involves the local area around the gums. Gingivitis describes an inflammation and infection that damages the gums, periodontal ligaments and tooth sockets. It is usually due to excess plaque on the teeth which harbours bacteria causing tooth decay. Plaque ultimately becomes tartar which damages the gums. If you have other illnesses, diabetes, pregnancy or poor dental hygiene, you are more likely to get gingivitis. If you have braces or rough edges on your fillings, you will have an increased chance of gingivitis. Certain medications can contribute to the disease.

Dental Negligence Solicitors Advice

Our dental negligence solicitors are all members of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of clinical negligence experts and deal with medical negligence compensation claims using the no win no fee* scheme. For children or those on a low income it may also be possible to obtain Legal Aid which always concentrates insurers minds on settlement. To talk to a specialist lawyer about a dentist or a dental problem just use the helpline, complete the contact form or email us and we'll arrange a call-back for free advice at a convenient time.


*Legal Information

The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here