Abscess of the lower jaw

An abscess is an encapsulated accumulation of pus as part of an inflammation that spreads through the tissue. Abscesses in the lower jaw are usually caused by an untreated inflammation of the tooth root. They are usually extremely painful and can lead to fever and a general feeling of exhaustion. However, severe pain does not always have to be accompanied by an abscess in the lower jaw. Because an untreated lower jaw abscess can lead to breathing difficulties due to swelling, a visit to the dentist or family doctor is strongly recommended.

How dangerous is a lower jaw abscess?

An abscess in the lower jaw must always be treated, otherwise complications can occur. Without treatment, it can destroy bone, connective tissue and nerves and thus lead to irreversible damage. Another very dangerous complication of a lower jaw abscess is blood poisoning (sepsis), which is caused by germs entering the bloodstream.

This potentially life-threatening clinical picture can be avoided by early medical treatment of a lower jaw abscess. Due to the close position of the lower jaw to the throat, the swelling associated with an abscess can lead to a narrowing of the air and respiratory tract. The resulting shortness of breath is life-threatening. Therefore, if you feel tight or breathless, you should go to hospital immediately.

What symptoms does an abscess in the lower jaw cause?

Typically, an abscess is accompanied by a massive and rapidly developing swelling. Superficial abscesses lead to a visible redness and warming of the cheek skin. The skin appears taut, shiny and is very painful to touch.

In the case of highly advanced abscesses in the lower jaw, the skin may even break through, i.e. pus appears on the surface (like a pimple). At the latest then a doctor should be consulted. The pain usually has a throbbing character and is intensified by pressure.

Due to the position of the tongue in the lower jaw, chewing and speaking may be more difficult. A wide opening of the mouth is not always possible. The spread of the abscess to the throat and palate may hinder swallowing and/or breathing.

Here too, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Fever and general fatigue are also typical symptoms of a lower jaw abscess. In the worst case, blood poisoning (sepsis) can result from the spread of germs in the bloodstream.

This is a life-threatening clinical picture and must be treated immediately in hospital with antibiotics. Furthermore, damage to the surrounding soft tissues, nerves, bones and teeth is possible. An abscess is usually an extremely painful clinical picture.

Typical is a throbbing pain, which is sometimes stronger and sometimes less strong. The intensity of the pain can increase and decrease again and again in the course of the disease. When pressure is applied to the jaw or cheek, the pain increases, which is why those affected tend to avoid touching.

Chewing and speaking can also be affected by the pain. A complete opening of the mouth is usually also restricted by this. If the abscess spreads to the palate or throat, swallowing may also be made difficult or impossible due to the pain. In individual cases, a painless abscess of the lower jaw is also possible.