An abscess tooth occurs when there is an accumulation of pus formed inside the gums or teeth. The abscess is actually caused by the accumulation of bacterial infection in the soft tissue of the gums or tooth (pulp).
The bacteria that caused abscess tooth usually exist in decaying plaques, chunks, and food by-products. These bacteria stick to the teeth and gum and cause great damages to them. If the plaques and chunks are not removed by proper and regular brushing and flossing, the bacteria may grow large and spread into the soft tissue of the gums and teeth resulting in an abscess tooth.
Facts on Abscess Tooth
Here are some fast facts on abscess tooth. Though, more information can be found in the main article.
- There are basically 3 types of abscess, which are gingival abscess, periodontal abscess, and periapical abscess.
- Signs of abscess tooth include fever, bad taste in the mouth, and pain.
- An abscess is caused by a bacterial infection.
- In severe cases, abscess tooth treatment may involve root canal treatment.
- To reduce pain from an abscess tooth, it is recommended to use a toothbrush with softer bristle and avoid consuming cold foods and drinks.
Types of Abscess Tooth
There are basically 3 types of abscess. These are:
- Gingival abscess – This type of abscess affects only the gingival tissues and does not affect the periodontal ligament or the teeth.
- Periodontal abscess – This type of abscess targets the supporting bone tissues of the teeth.
- Periapical abscess – This type of abscess affects the soft pulp of the teeth.
The type of abscess will determine the location and severity of signs and symptoms.
Sign of Abscess Tooth
The signs of an abscess tooth include the following:
- Severe, persistent, or throbbing toothache that may spread to your ear, neck, or jawbone.
- Oversensitivity to cold and hot temperatures.
- Oversensitivity to the pressure of biting and chewing.
- Serious fever.
- Swelling in your check or face.
- Swollen or tender lymph nodes under your neck or your jaw.
- A sudden rush of foul-tasting and foul-smelling, taste of salty fluid in your mouth when the abscess ruptures.
- Facial redness and swelling
- Swollen, red gums
- Loose or discolored loose teeth
- Foul taste in your mouth
- Bad breath
When to See a Dentist?
If you notice any of the sign of abscess tooth above, quickly consult your dentist. If you also experience swallowing or breathing trouble, you should also visit your dentist. These may indicate that the tooth abscess has radiated deeper into the surrounding gingival tissue, jawbone, or even into other body areas.
Risk factors of an Abscess Tooth
The following factors may increase your risk of having an abscessed tooth:
- Poor oral hygiene practices: if you do not observe good oral practices or take proper care of your teeth and gingiva i.e. not brushing or flossing at least twice daily, you are increasing your risk of abscess tooth, gum disease, tooth decay, and other dental complications.
- Consuming diets high in sugar: Frequent eating and drinking of diets high in sugar can also increase your risk of having dental cavities, which may turn into an abscess tooth.
If you have a weak body immune system and you have an untreated tooth abscess, you stand a greater risk of having the infection spread at an increasing rate all over your body.
Complications of an Abscess Tooth
Abscessed tooth won’t go away except with dental abscess treatments. Even if the abscess bursts and the pain reduced significantly, dental abscess treatments are still needed.
However, if the tooth abscess doesn’t rupture, the bacterial infection may radiate to your gum, jaw, neck, and head. A tooth abscess may even degenerate into sepsis — a severe, life-threatening bacterial infection that spreads all over your body.
Abscess Tooth Treatment
Abscess tooth treatment focuses on clearing up the bacterial infection and relieving you of pain. Depending on the sign of abscess tooth you develop, your dentist may have to start the abscess tooth treatment with a dental X-ray. This will enable your dentist to know whether the bacterial infection has radiated to other areas or not.
Depending on the severity and type of your tooth abscess, abscess tooth treatment includes:
- Breaking and draining the tooth abscess – your dentist would cut into the tooth abscess to break it and then drain the pus. Your dentist would then clean the affected area with a saline solution.
- Undergoing a root canal procedure – you may have to undergo a root canal treatment, which involves drilling into the abscessed tooth to drain the abscess and eliminate any infected dental pulp. After which your dentist would fill and seal up the pulp chamber. If necessary, your dentist may have to place a dental crown on the affected tooth to strengthen it. However, the dental crown treatment is given during a separate dental appointment.
- Tooth extraction – should in case the abscessed tooth is severely damaged, your dentist may have to remove the tooth and then drain the abscess.
- Using antibiotics – If you have a weak body immune system or the bacterial infection has radiated beyond the affected tooth, your dentist may prescribe to you an oral antibiotic to help get rid of the infection.
- Removing of a foreign object – sometimes, foreign object in your gum may be responsible for your tooth abscess. In such a case, your dentist would have to remove the foreign object, and then clean up the affected area with a saline solution.
In case it’s not possible for you to consult your dentist immediately, an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen may help reduce the pain. Rinsing your mouth regularly with warm, salty water may also help fight the infection.
How to Prevent Abscess Tooth?
Preventing tooth abscess is better than undergoing dental abscess treatments. The best way to prevent tooth abscess is to avoid tooth decay and tooth decay can be avoided by taking good and proper dental care. Other ways to prevent tooth abscess include:
- Taking fluoridated drinking water.
- Brushing your teeth thrice daily using fluoride toothpaste.
- Flossing at least twice daily or using an interdental cleaner to clean your teeth daily.
- Replacing your toothbrush at most every four months, or whenever your toothbrush’s bristles are frayed.
- Eating healthy diets. Avoid between-meal snacks and high sugary diets.
- Scheduling a regular visit to your dentist for professional cleanings and checkups.
- Using a fluoride or antiseptic mouth rinse to add additional protection to your teeth against dental decay.
To learn more about abscess tooth and dental abscess treatment, consult any of our friendly dentists at Dentist Tomball TX.