An abscessed tooth is a painful infection, found at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth. It is is commonly caused by severe dental decay. Other causes include trauma to the tooth (e.g when broken or chipped), periodontitis or erupting wisdom teeth.
These problems can allow bacteria to infect the centre of the tooth (called the pulp). The infection may also spread from the root of the tooth to the bones supporting the tooth. Symptoms may include fever, pain when chewing, sensitive teeth, a bitter taste in the mouth or a foul smell to the breath.
To eliminate infection, the abscess may need to be drained. This may be done by a procedure known as root canal treatment or tooth removal to allow drainage through the socket; alternatively the abcess may need addressing through an incision into the swollen gum tissue.
Antibiotics may also be prescribed to help fight the infection. Some short term pain relief options are warm salt water rinses and over the counter pain relief if medically applicable to your situation.