Dealing with a Dental Abscess

What is a Dental Abscess.jpg

Sometimes a toothache is nothing to worry about; when it’s brief and brought on by relatively harmless circumstances, like a too cold beverage. Other times, though, it might be an abscess. An abscessed tooth—also known as a dental abscess—is one that has infection-caused pockets of pus in the gum tissue around it. There are two common types of dental abscess; the periapical abscess and the periodontal abscess. Ask your dentist during your next Tulsa teeth cleaning which preventative measures are best for your teeth.

Periapical abscesses form at the tip of a tooth’s root and are caused by bacteria making their way into the pulp of the affected tooth, often through a cavity or some other form of damage. Periodontal abscesses are infections that form within the gums near a given tooth’s root canals. Periodontal abscesses are most often caused by severe cases of gum disease, also known as periodontitis.  

Tooth abscesses can usually be prevented with the right dental care. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss between them once a day, and make sure to come in for a Tulsa teeth cleaning twice a year. If you do these things, then the odds are quite low that you’ll develop a tooth abscess. The growth of an abscess requires the presence of bacteria and a route for them to get either into a tooth or into the gums near a tooth’s roots. When you make your mouth inhospitable to bacteria, you reduce their population and lower the chances of developing cavities or gum disease in the first place. Without cavities or gum disease to provide them with a path, the bacteria have a difficult time forming into an abscess.

However, if you do develop an abscess, it is treatable. It is crucial, though, that if you think you might have or be developing an abscess that you see a dentist immediately, as abscesses can grow severe and potentially life-threatening. Infections in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel to your heart, which is to be avoided at all costs. Regular Tulsa teeth cleanings allow your dentist to spot these problems before they become severe.

Common symptoms of a tooth abscess are…

  1. Pain in the affected tooth and surrounding gum tissue.

  2. Pain within the jaw and sometimes radiating into the neck.

  3. Swelling and redness of the gums in localized spots.

  4. Pain of the affected area when you chew.

  5. Fever.

  6. Foul taste coming from the infection within the mouth.

  7. Swollen lymph nodes.

  8. Difficulty breathing or swallowing.

If you develop some of these symptoms, don’t put off seeing your dentist. The dentist will check visually for signs of an abscess, and if they need a better view, they will take a dental x-ray of your mouth. The x-ray will show the dentist any pockets of pus hidden beneath your teeth and within your gums. If an abscess is discovered, then the dentist will treat the site and most likely prescribe you antibiotics.

Treatment of an abscessed tooth might involve drilling through the tooth and removing the tooth pulp and roots—a process known as a root canal. This procedure kills the tooth but leaves it in place and perfectly functional. If the infection is less severe, the dentist may be able to treat it by simply draining the abscess and providing you with antibiotics. If the tooth itself has become too damaged, then the dentist may have to remove the tooth altogether before treating the abscess.

Tooth infections are no joke and can be very dangerous. If you think you might have or be developing a tooth abscess, don’t hesitate, schedule an appointment with Tulsa Modern Dental and let the experts take a look.