What is an Abscessed Tooth? How is a Dental Abscess Treated?

what is an abscessed toothWhen a bacterial infection develops around the root of a tooth, it can cause a pocket of pus to form. This is commonly known as an abscessed tooth. A dental abscess often results in a swollen, painful area in the gums near the infected tooth.

Abscessed Tooth Symptoms

What does the start of a tooth abscess feel like? The first symptom is swelling and pain that gets worse over time. In many cases, the abscess may be felt with a finger and gingival bleeding may occur. When you have an abscessed tooth, you may experience these symptoms:

  • Swelling and redness in your gums
  • Pain when chewing
  • Bad taste or bad breath
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Puffy gums 
  • Loose tooth

Source: WebMD 

Is a Tooth Abscess an Emergency?

A tooth abscess is caused by an infection. If left untreated, the infection can spread all the way down to the tooth root. A pocket of puss could be formed as a result. A tooth abscess doesn’t get better on its own, so avoiding your dentist will only make it worse.

Dental Abscess Treatment

The severity of the infection will determine the treatment of a tooth abscess. Antibiotics may be used for some abscesses, while others may require drainage. Draining off the infection is the most effective way to treat a dental abscess. A small hole can be made in the abscess to help it drain out. The dentist may also remove the dead tissue and irrigate or wash the area of infection with saline. 

A root canal may be required in cases of a cracked tooth or cavity that has exposed the pulp. Tooth extraction may be warranted if the tooth is too damaged. If your tooth can’t be saved, your dentist may pull it before draining the abscess.

Tooth Abscess Left Untreated

The infection can spread to your jaw and other parts of your head and neck, including your brain if left untreated. Sepsis, a life-threatening complication of an infection, can occur in rare cases.

A potential abscessed tooth needs to be examined and treated by a dentist. If the abscess has ruptured, you may feel relief, however, you need to have an examination and cleaning by your dentist to make sure the infection doesn’t spread and to treat the cause of the abscess.

Treatment for Abscessed Tooth in Palm Bay, FL

The best defense against tooth infection and a dental abscess is a good offense. Practice good oral hygiene, brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily, and visit your dentist twice a year so tooth decay and gum disease can be treated before an infection has a chance to begin.

If you have an abscessed tooth or suspect that you have one, contact Ultimate Smile Design for an appointment. We will treat the infection and its cause so that it doesn’t recur. Don’t wait until the infection spreads. The sooner we treat the infection, the better.