Abscess of the upper jaw


An abscess is generally a cavity filled with pus. This cavity has formed again during an inflammation, so this cavity did not exist before. An abscess is the result of an infection with pathogens such as viruses or bacteria.

The pus that develops is a sign that the pathogen is being fought by the immune system. Abscesses in the upper jaw often develop as a result of inflammation in the oral cavity and represent an inflammation of the jaw bone. Since abscesses in the facial area always carry the risk of the pathogen getting into the brain, one should always consult a doctor in such a case.

Causes of the abscess

Abscesses in the upper jaw are often caused by germs, especially by special bacteria, e.g. so-called streptococci, which belong to the normal oral flora. Under certain conditions these pathogens can lead to the formation of an abscess. This is favoured, for example, by inflamed tooth roots, a dead tooth that has become inflamed or also by caries. In rare cases, a so-called dental or jaw cyst, a fluid-filled cavity that can ultimately lead to an abscess, may also be present. Last but not least, an abscess in the upper jaw can sometimes be caused by infections of the tonsils or paranasal sinuses.


Signs of an abscess in the upper jaw can be a newly appeared swelling in the area of the cheek, which is extremely sensitive and sometimes painful. At the beginning, however, pain does not necessarily have to be present immediately, as this only occurs when the pus cavity has reached a corresponding size and is pressing on adjacent tissue structures. The pus can then also shine through to the outside of the skin, which makes the swelling look like a large pimple.

In addition, the swollen area may also be reddened and feel warm. Some people also report a bad taste in the mouth when a jaw abscess has developed. If the infection also affects the jaw muscles in addition to the jawbone, it can result in a so-called jaw clamp, which means that the mouth can no longer be opened wide.

If the muscles of the jaw are also affected by the infection, swallowing difficulties can also result. General symptoms of the disease can also occur. These are for example fever, malaise or chills.

An abscess in the upper jaw does not necessarily cause pain to the affected person at first. As long as the abscess cavity is still relatively small and does not yet exert pressure on adjacent tissue, a jaw abscess can appear as a swelling in the cheek area without causing pain. However, if more and more pus has formed and the cavity expands accordingly, the abscess is often accompanied by pain.

This pain is caused by compressing structures adjacent to the abscess or by excessive stretching of the skin due to the swelling. This topic might also be of interest to you: Inflammation in the mouthThe development of an abscess in the upper jaw can take varying lengths of time, from a few weeks to several months. It can also take different amounts of time before the first symptoms appear.

However, since an abscess in the upper jaw does not disappear on its own, surgical treatment is essential. After the surgical procedure, a drainage remains in the wound for a few days. As soon as this has been removed, the wound will wait to close on its own. The time between the operation and complete healing is approximately one week if the operation proceeds without complications.