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When the inside of the tooth (the pulp) is diseased or injured and can’t repair itself, it dies. The most common causes of pulp death are having a cracked tooth or a deep cavity. These problems let bacteria enter the pulp, and can cause an infection inside the tooth. Pus builds up at the root tip in the jawbone, forming an abscess or pus pocket. An abscess can cause damage to the bone surrounding the teeth. Treatment for an abscess includes root canal therapy.