What is a dental abscess? Is it something you should be concerned about? And how to recognize the symptoms of this condition? Dental abscesses can progress into a serious problem, and you should address the problem as soon as you notice it.
The type of dental service necessary for the treatment will vary depending on the specific condition, and it is something that can cause so many problems if left untreated. Here is what you need to know about dental abscesses and how to treat them.
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A tooth abscess is a term used to describe a pocket of pus that can appear on the gums. The abscess can look red, it’s often swollen, and it can be quite painful. While it appears on the gums, it is affecting a tooth.
However, the main problem is that it can spread to the surrounding area, including neighboring teeth. There are three primary types of dental abscesses. There are gingival, periapical, and periodontal abscesses.
The first type, gingival abscess, appears on the gums, and it usually isn’t affecting any teeth. A periapical abscess appears on the tip of the root, and if the tooth is damaged, bacteria can easily spread to the tooth’s pulp.
Finally, a periapical abscess appears in the bone, and it is usually a result of gum disease.
In the majority of cases, tooth abscess is easy to spot. There are a couple of symptoms that people will notice, and the condition can get quite unpleasant. One of the first signs is a sharp, throbbing pain appearing on the gums, and the tooth, and even spreading to the neck and jaw.
A person might also experience increased sensitivity to hot and cold (both foods and drinks), and they can have a bitter taste in their mouth. Additionally, they might develop bad breath or halitosis, and redness and swelling can appear on the gums.
It is not rare for one or more teeth to become loose, and the abscess might appear on the gums as well. In some cases, people might get a fever or swollen lymph nodes, and it can cause significant discomfort.
There are a couple of ways a dentist can diagnose tooth abscess. The first thing they will do is examine the problematic tooth, as well as the surrounding area. They might notice signs of swelling or infection, which will help them understand the next step.
Of course, getting an X-ray is one of the easiest ways to confirm a dental abscess. This will also allow them to see whether the infection has spread to other teeth, and it will have an impact on the treatment method.
Another option is to go for a CT scan, and it is a great way to see if the infection has spread to other parts of the body (such as the neck). The dentist will also tap on the tooth since the tooth with the abscess is usually sensitive to touch.
Once the dentist confirms that the patient has a tooth abscess, they can proceed to the treatment.
When it comes to causes, anything that can create space for bacteria to enter the tooth can lead to an abscess. This means that cavities can progress and lead to abscesses. As you probably know already, cavities can destroy the surface of the tooth.
Once the tooth cracks, it is possible for the bacteria to accumulate which leads to an abscess. Bacteria from foods and drinks can create acid that will destroy enamel (the protective layer of the tooth), and cause cavities.
Needless to say, having a broken or chipped tooth will make it easy for bacteria to get to the inner layer of the tooth. Once it spreads to the pulp, it is possible to progress into an abscess.
Another thing worth mentioning is that gum health is equally important. And having gum disease or periodontal disease can lead to inflammation and infection. This will allow bacteria to spread even deeper into the tissue.
Generally speaking, any type of injury to the tooth can create an opening for bacteria. Which is why you should ensure you have healthy teeth and gums.
When it comes to possible treatments, they will mostly depend on the specific situation. But this means that there are several possible options. One of the common processes is drainage.
The idea is to clear the abscess, and the dentist will make a small incision to drain the pus. And once the infection is drained out, the dentist can proceed to fix other issues with the tooth.
Root canal therapy is also helpful since it can eliminate the infection. A great advantage of a root canal is that it can also save the tooth. Of course, there are situations where the affected tooth is beyond saving, and the only remaining option would be tooth extraction.
Today, you can easily get dental implants to replace missing teeth, and there are different available methods. It is also worth noting that the dentist will often recommend antibiotics to help your body fight the rest of the bacteria.
If you believe that you have a tooth abscess, the only viable option is to visit a dentist. They will be able to assess the situation and see whether you have a tooth abscess. And if that’s the case, they will recommend one of the treatment methods.
As always, the method will depend on the specific situation. They will need to see whether the abscess is affecting one or more teeth, the condition of the gums, and everything else that might affect the treatment method.
Once again, they will usually recommend an X-ray to be sure of the condition and whether other teeth are affected. But there isn’t anything you can do on your own. Visiting a dentist should be at the top of your priority list, and it is the only way to prevent the condition from worsening further.
Keep in mind that the pain might go away if the nerve is affected. Once the pulp dies, the pain will go away. But the infection will remain. It can also affect surrounding teeth, and there is a high chance it will end up in tooth loss if left untreated.
So, don’t wait for it to go even further. Schedule a visit to your dentist momentarily.