So You Have an Abscess. What Does That Mean?
Your mouth is a sensitive and delicate area which is why there are so many things that can go wrong if poorly treated. Dental hygiene is vitally important as well as visiting your dentist regularly. One very major mouth problem is abscesses. If your mouth or jaw is aching and there is swelling and pain, you may have an abscessed tooth. Here is a guide on everything you need to know about abscesses.
What is an Abscess?
An abscessed tooth is an infection within a tooth. It is a pocket of pus that forms at different regions of the tooth and for different reasons. A gingival abscess (gum abscess) occurs on the surface of the tissue at the gum line of the teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to a periodontal abscess which the abscess on the tissue of the gum line drives deeper into the gum pockets. A periapical abscess commences in the soft pulp of the tooth, which later on will travel down to the nerves of the tooth.
Wherever the location of your abscess, it will become inflamed and can swell severely, obstructing your ability to chew or swallow properly. The abscess will keep growing and causing more pain so it is important to visit your dentist as soon as these symptoms occur.
Other symptoms of an abscess usually include:
- A reddened area around the site
- A bad taste in your mouth
- Swollen face
- Sensitive teeth to hot or cold food and drinks
- Swollen glands in the neck
- A pea-sized bump inside the mouth
As your condition advances, you may experience other symptoms such as a fever, vomiting, chills or nausea.
Where Do They Come From?
An abscess usually occurs because of poor dental health. Your mouth naturally contains bacteria but when your teeth are not regularly cleaned well, plaque will form on your teeth and gums, resulting in infections and decay. Other possible causes include:
- Gum disease (gingivitis)
- Dental injury (cracked tooth)
- A poor diet
- Some medications
- Neglecting small wounds in the mouth or surgical sites from previous dental visits.
How Can They Be Treated?
If you have an abscess, you need to visit your dentist immediately. This is especially important if you feel sick or have any other symptoms of an advanced infection. The treatment depends on the seriousness of your condition but usually your dentist will drain the site to get rid of the pus and give you painkillers and antibiotics to combat the infection. A root canal treatment can also be carried out. A tooth extraction only happens if it is a severe infection of the tooth that cannot be saved.
If your abscess ruptures at home, before you can get to the dentist, rinse with warm water to help clear out all the pus and see your dentist as soon as possible.
Why You Shouldn't Delay Treatment
Waiting for the pain to subside or delaying treatment is the last thing you want to do. The pain may stop but that doesn’t stop the infection. The infection will continue to spread, leading to bigger problems. Early treatment can cure the infection and save the tooth.
Emergency Dentist Sydney Says:
If you suspect an abscessed tooth, it is crucial to visit a dentist as soon as possible, even if you are not in any more pain.