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You have probably heard the term abscess tooth. But what is it? An abscess develops when a pocket of puss forms in the gums or around a tooth as a result of bacteria in the mouth. Abscess form in a matter of days and will continue to worsen if the infection is left untreated.

Types of Abscesses

  • Periapical Abscess – This is an infection inside of the tooth. It stems from the root of the tooth and extends through the bone. Periapical abscess happens when the root of the tooth has started to die or is already dead and continues to spreads to bones that are surrounding the infected tooth.
  • Periodontal Abscess – Develops when the infection forms between the tooth and the gum. This happens when the infection already exists in the gums. It can also be the result of improper cleaning between the teeth and gums. Flossing is important and it can help prevent abscesses from developing.

Do Abscesses Cause Pain?

Generally, abscesses cause pain but some people might not notice any pain for months and in some cases, years. Abscesses are usually swollen, irritated, and pus-filled. The pus may cause pressure leading to discomfort or pain. The infection will irritate your gum or tooth. Throbbing pain might develop. Symptoms might also include a fever, swollen neck glands, tooth sensitivity, pain, bad breath, or a bad taste in your mouth. Contact your dentist if you notice any of these symptoms so that they can treat the infection before it worsens. Infections do not go away on their own— treatment is required. If left untreated, abscesses can form a fistula, which is essentially a hollow tunnel from the abscess through the skin or bone which allows the pus to drain. You can see fistula inside your mouth, they resemble a pimple. Treatment is still necessary even if pressure is relieved by the fistula drains the pus, as the infection is still present. If the infection becomes severe, a dental cyst might develop in the jaw bone. This will have to removed by extracting the tooth or through oral surgery. The infection can become so severe that it spreads and is life-threatening such as tooth loos, sepsis, infection in the soft tissue, infection in the jaw bone, and other parts of the body that can cause fever, brain abscess, endocarditis, pneumonia, and more.

Treating an Abscessed Tooth

It is imperative that you schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as you notice any symptoms of an abscess as this is the only way you will be able to properly treat the infection. Your dentist will prescribe you an antibiotic to treat the infection and may advise you take over the counter medications to relieve pain. Never attempt home remedies without talking to your dentist first as these can make the infection worse. In many cases, abscesses need to be drained. Your dentist can do this many different ways depending on how bad the infection is and the shape of the tooth. One method is making an incision in your gums to allow the pus from the abscess to drain. A root canal may be required to remove any dead and infected tissue and save your tooth. Root canals can be used to remove infected tissue once the infection has been treated and improved. A crown or bridge might be required to maintain the functionality of your tooth after you have a root canal or tooth extracted. The best way to prevent an abscess is proper oral care. Brush and floss every day as this prevents plaque from building up and tarter from forming on the surface of the teeth and between your gums. Floss helps to remove any particles that might be left behind from food and lodged in your gums. These particles can collect bacteria that can result in infection. If your tooth experiences any trauma whether that be a chip, crack; or is dislodged, seek treatment immediately. In these cases, abscesses happen fast.

To avoid overlooking any dental health issues, it is important that you go to the dentist at least twice a year for exams and cleaning. 

Contact us (859) 586-7900 for more information or to make an appointment!

About Torbeck Dental

Torbeck Dental treats every patient with dignity and excellent care. We are highly-trained dental professionals with exceptionally friendly and helpful service. We understand that for many, visiting a dentist can be a stressful experience so our comfortable surroundings and compassionate staff will ease any fears you may have. We are here to help you achieve your happiest and healthiest smile! Our dental team are a group experienced professionals using the latest treatments. Our team has the professional experience to realize that there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all treatment, so we never use a one-size-fits-all approach to your dental plan. We provide quality and personalized oral health care while keeping your individuality in mind. Our goal is to improve and maintain your oral health so you can smile with confidence!