Abscessed teeth don’t look like this.

Wednesday So, do you remember in the "Addams Family" movie when little Wednesday is going to be a serial killer for Halloween?  She wears her regular clothes as a costume because "They look just like everybody else."  That's the way that abscessed teeth usually look.  You can't see any difference between the diseased tooth and the normal teeth without an X-ray.  Even when something is draining, you can't be sure which tooth's root is problem.  The draining tract could be crooked.

Cat face (2) We were just supposed to clean this cat's teeth because it had bad breath and visible tartar.  The owner had no idea that the cat was in any pain.  She was eating fine, acting "normal".

Cat mouth (2) So I opened her mouth to clean her teeth, and something looks funny around her right upper canine tooth (#104 for you dental types).  The gums are swollen and there's a red spot.

Gum hole (2) Hey, take a look at that red spot.  Push on the gums and stuff oozes out.  That is so cool.  When I probe under the gum-line, much more stuff gooshes out [ goosh = Southeast Missouri for "gush"].  The tooth is NOT difficult to extract.

Abscessed tooth (2) Here's the tooth and, in addition to being all raggedy-looking instead of smooth, there's no pink stuff stuck to it.  That's why it was easy to extract — pink stuff means it was attached to the socket.  In this case there was pus between tooth and socket.

Gosh, I wish all abcessed teeth were like this, but they are not.  That's why we need those dental X-rays, folks.  How many abscessed teeth are out there hiding for every obvious one like this one?  Hard to say.  In thirty years, I've only seen a couple of obvious ones like this, so I'm guessing that there are a lot of incognito abscesses out there.

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