What is a tooth abscess?
A tooth abscess is also referred to as a periapical abscess. This type of abscess occurs in the tooth, but its effects can spread outward. An abscess happens when the nerve of the tooth is dying or dead. This abscess is located at the tip of the tooth root.
What Is The Cause?
The cause is due to bacterial infections located in the pulp area of the tooth. They may also be due to infections in the root surfaces of a tooth. Or infections in the surrounding soft tissues and bones located in the head and neck region. Patients with ongoing periodontal disease are at a higher risk of developing abscesses. Regular dental hygiene appointments and monitoring of oral health, will help.
What Are The Symptoms?
Common symptoms of a tooth abscess often include a sharp, shooting or throbbing pain. Some patients may also experience the following:
- Pain when eating or chewing foods
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods
- A bitter taste in the mouth
- Unpleasant smelling breath
- Swollen glands in the neck area
- Swelling and/or redness of the gums
- Swelling of the upper or lower jaw area
- An open sore on the gum
- A sore that has pus drainage (thick discharge)
- Limited opening of the mouth
Dental abscesses can be mild to severe in nature. While they may originate in one area, they can easily spread into surrounding areas if they are left untreated. In some cases, the infection may spread to the bloodstream, where it can lead to organ damage.
How is a dental abscess treated?
Most patients will visit their dentist when they feel pain due to the infection. If the pain is mild, some patients may wait not visit the dentist right away, this can lead to the infection spreading and causing severe pain. A dental abscess will not go away unless it is treated by your dentist.
Your dentist will need to take at least one x-ray to determine the extent of the tooth abscess to aid in treatment.
Removing all of the pus buildup will help ease some of the pain and swelling. The dentist will need to create an opening in the tooth to allow the abscess to drain. Once the abscess has drained, the dentist will perform root canal treatment.
If the tooth has been severely damaged or if the abscess has grown too large, the tooth will need to be removed. Your dentist will provide tooth replacement options if the tooth needs to be removed.
Your dentist will also prescribe some antibiotics and medication to help with the pain.
If you are currently experiencing sharp, shooting pain or pain that is not subsiding or going away, contact us.