Hi Graham I had the same problem as you, with the beginning of an abcess, top back tooth right hand side. My dentist is private now, so I he gave me two options and prices first for root canal surgery plus cap £687 or extraction £58, you can imagine which one I went for. He told me not to clean my teeth for a day or so, and rinse out with salt water 3 times a day. After 3 days the hole in my gum is nearly healed, how quick is that!. Hope this helps, good luck. Sconedd.
If it was right at the back, I would have it extracted. That's what happened to my two upper wisdom teeth. No pain at all, just bleeding for about 24 hours, and the gums heal over in time.
Yours isn't right at the back, though. I would ask about having the nerve removed and the tooth filled. I've had this done on two teeth, and I still have them years later. It normally requires two visits to carry out, and the temporary filling they put in place between visits can drop out, lol, but in the long run I think it's the betetr option.
When you have a tooth extracted the blood forms a clot which gradually reforms into bone and gum tissue. However if you get a 'dry socket' where the clot dislodges go back to the dentist who may pack it with an antibiotic material that helps the healing process and re-formation of bone and gum tissue.
The dentist should give you a leaflet that explains the after care procedures.
I recently had the option of root canal work for £780 or an extraction for £40, being a cheapskate guess which option I took.
I also had a 'dry socket' when I must have dislodged the clot when cleaning my teeth.