Your smile is the most influential asset, but when dental issues arise, they turn quickly into the source of pain or discomfort. One such problem is dental abscess which is common and dangerous too. Dental abscesses are often painful but not always, either way, they should be looked at by a dentist. Because abscesses don’t go on their own and if left untreated can spread to other parts of the body. Understanding what a dental abscess is, its causes, symptoms and treatment options can help you take swift action and preserve oral health.
At The Dental Lounge, we offer personalised care and service with a smile to help you achieve the best possible results for your smile.
What is a Dental Abscess?
An abscess is a pocket of bacterial pus or infection in the gums. Often originating from untreated dental issues like cavities, chipped teeth or gum. After the tooth becomes infected, pus collects inside the tooth, causing swelling and pain commonly known as tooth pain. A dental abscess usually resembles a red, swollen bump, boil and pimple.
Signs of Tooth Infections
One must know how to identify signs of tooth infection and get treated for them immediately as soon you notice them.
- Tooth Pain
- Bad Breath (halitosis)
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Heat or Cold sensitivity
- Change in tooth colour
Types of Abscesses
There are different types of abscesses depending on the location but 3 are the most common type:
- Periapical Abscess: This kind of abscess formed at the tip of the tooth’s root
- Periodontal Abscess: This kind of abscess is on the gum next to the root of the tooth
- Gingival Abscess: This kind of abscess on the gums.
Causes of Dental Abscess
A bacterial infection in the tooth or gums causes a dental abscess. This infection can occur for several reasons, including:
- Tooth Decay: When tooth decay progresses deep into the tooth, it can expose the pulp, allowing bacteria to enter and cause an infection.
- Gum Disease: Diseases like periodontal disease, gingivitis, and periapical can create pockets between gum and teeth providing a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Trauma: Physical injury to a tooth damages the pulp, making it susceptible to infection.
- Poor Dental Hygiene: Insufficient brushing and flossing can lead to plaque build-up, increasing the risk of infection.
- Weakened Immune System: Individuals with weak/compromised immune systems are more susceptible to dental abscesses.
Symptoms of Dental Abscess
Symptoms of dental abscesses can vary depending on the severity of the infection. Hence recognising the signs of dental abscess is important for prompt treatment. Common symptoms like;
- Severe Toothache: A persistent, throbbing pain near the affected tooth.
- Swelling: If you observe swelling on the neck, cheek or face.
- Temperature sensitivity: Increased sensitivity while having hot or cold foods and drinks.
- Fever: If you experience fever accompanied by infection.
- Bad taste or breath: If you experience foul breath or taste.
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing: In severe cases, difficulty in swallowing or breathing due to swelling.
When to See a Dentist
See your doctor promptly if experience any signs and symptoms of tooth abscess. If you have a fever or swelling on your face. Go for an emergency appointment, if you have trouble breathing or swallowing this indicates that the infection has spread deeper into the jaw, throat, neck or other parts of the body.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you suspect having a dental abscess it is important to seek professional dental care. Early treatment is important to prevent the infection from spreading and causing more serious problems. The dentist will diagnose the abscess through a combination of
- Physical Examination: The dentist will visually inspect the affected area and look for signs of swelling and inflammation.
- X-ray: A Dental X-ray reveals the extent of the infection and its location.
- CT scan: If the infection has spread to other areas within your neck, this will identify the extent of the infection. The dentist might recommend a CT scan.
Treatment Options Includes
The treatment for a dental abscess will depend on the severity of the infection and the underlying cause. However, the goal of treatment is to get rid of the infection and relieve the pain.
- Incision & Drainage: At this point, the dentist will numb the area and make a small incision (cut) in the abscess to drain the pus and relieve the pressure for a while.
- Root Canal Treatment: If a tooth has been severely damaged by decay or infection, the dentist may recommend a root canal. This procedure involves removing the infected pulp from the tooth and filling the canal with a rubber-like material. However, if the root canal is not successful, an abscess can develop.
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be prescribed to control the infection and prevent it from spreading.
- Pain Management: Pain relievers can help manage discomfort during recovery.
- Tooth Extraction: If the abscess is severe or if the tooth cannot be saved, the dentist may need to extract the tooth.
Preventing Dental Abscesses is Easy
Prevention is always better than treatment. To reduce the risk of dental abscesses, follow these steps:
- Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Brush and floss daily to prevent cavities and gum disease.
- Regular Dental Check-ups: Visit your dentist regularly for basic check-ups and cleanings.
- Address Dental Issues Promptly: Treat cavities and gum problems early to prevent them from becoming abscesses.
- Limit Sugary Foods: Reduce sugar intake to minimise the risk of tooth decay.
- Protect Teeth: Wear mouthguards during contact sports to prevent dental trauma
To Sum it up
Understanding dental abscesses, including their causes, symptoms, and treatment choices, gives you the ability to take charge of your oral health. Remember, if you suspect a tooth abscess, see your dentist right away for an accurate diagnosis and treatment at The Dental Lounge.
We understand the urgency and discomfort that dental abscesses can bring. Our dedicated team of skilled dentist are committed to providing you with prompt and effective treatment to alleviate your pain and resolve any underlying issues. Contact us, to restore your oral health and ensure comfort throughout treatment. You can repair your smile and avoid future difficulties if you act quickly.