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Phoenix Abscess

An acute apical abscess resulted from deep dental caries or decay in this molar tooth.

A lower molar tooth with deep tooth decay (caries), which provided a pathway for bacteria into the pulp of the tooth and led to an abscess at the root tip (apex).

Phoenix abscess is a painful condition in which the tip (apical portion) of a tooth’s root becomes inflamed, which may result in swelling and fever. Almost always, the condition occurs secondary to a long standing (chronic) infection. The term phoenix is an older term, and its use is becoming less commonplace in favor of more descriptive terms like “chronic,” which generally features a lesion that can be seen on an X-ray, and “suppurative” (draining). Draining infections can produce a bad taste and bad breath (halitosis).

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Author: Thomas J. Greany, D.D.S. / Editor: Ken Lambrecht

This page was last updated on March 6, 2018.

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