I had a small one and had to have a root canal. My jaw hurt for several weeks, and when I realized I was living on painkillers I called the dentist. Abscesses can come on quicker and hurt much worse , from what I understand. It is an infection and needs to be treated.
I agree with the previous reply. The can grow super fast over night. The sooner you get it examined and taken care of the better! I had one. My jaw was swollen on the bottom left side. Ended up going to the emergency room because it was a holiday and the pain was awful! I couldn't sleep or eat anything for days. Wish I didn't wait so long. I had to have the whole tooth removed.