An abscess is a limited area of pus formed as a result of a bacterial infection. The body's immune system reacts to the infection, and sends white blood cells to the area to try to get rid of the bacteria.
Your teeth are held in place by roots that extend into your jawbone. Front teeth usually have one root. Other teeth, such as your premolars and molars, have two or more roots.
Gingival flap surgery is a procedure in which the gums are separated from the teeth and folded back temporarily to allow a dentist to reach the root of the tooth and the bone.
Small pieces of food — especially things like popcorn hulls — can get under your gums. If these pieces aren't removed, the area can get irritated, and even infected.
Fillings, which are materials used to fill cavities in the teeth, and crowns, which slip over and cover the tops of damaged teeth, sometimes loosen and fall out. This is rarely an emergency, but it can be painful because the exposed tooth tissue is often sensitive to pressure, air or hot and cold temperatures.
Sometimes it's all too obvious that you have tooth decay: You're in pain or you can see a dark spot on your tooth. But in other cases, you may not even know there's a problem until you see your dentist.
Wisdom teeth do not always emerge (erupt) into the mouth properly because there may not be enough room in the mouth for them to fit. Sometimes, a part of the tooth may remain covered by a flap of gum. Food particles and bacteria can get trapped under this flap and cause a mild irritation, a low-grade infection called pericoronitis and swelling. This usually happens with the lower wisdom teeth.
Any injury to the gums or teeth can be very painful. In some cases, however, the cause of severe dental pain is not obvious. For example, pain that comes on suddenly may be caused by particles of food that got lodged in a cavity and have started to irritate the nerve inside the tooth.
When a tooth is partially loosened or dislodged from its socket, dentists call it an extruded tooth. As long as the nerve and blood vessels remain intact, an extruded tooth may be saved without root-canal treatment, depending on how displaced it is.
Debridement is the removal of excessive amounts of plaque and tartar from your teeth.
Both crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.