If we don’t take good care of a decayed tooth, the infection may spread to its root and consequently it can result into a tooth abscess. A tooth abscess is a purulent and infectious mass around the root of the damaged tooth which should be treated by an orthodontist or an endodontist. In case it is not treated, it will affect all the face, neck and eventually the whole body.
What causes a tooth abscess?
Unlike looking hard and impermeable in appearance, the inside of a tooth is very soft and fragile because of its nerve vessels. And if the decay passes through the hard and resistant surface of the tooth and finds its way into the tooth’s soft tissues, it should be treated fast. In case of not being treated, this issue can cause an infectious abscess under and around the root of the tooth.
Some of the common causes of a tooth abscess include the gum diseases or periodontitis, deep dental decays, cracks and broken teeth. Each of these causes can lead to infection in the root or around the tooth which finally results into an abscess. The point which should be remembered regarding abscesses is that they may exist in any part of the gum, but each abscess is only the result of the infection of a tooth.
What are the symptoms of a tooth abscess?
A tooth abscess can be divided into two groups: a periapical abscess and a periodontal abscess which get different parts of the tissue involved. A periodontal abscess is caused by involving the bones adjacent to the damaged tooth. A periapical abscess also gets the root of the decayed tooth involved. The abscesses which are formed at the tip of a root may be also formed on the gums and at the end of the tooth. However, periodontal abscesses can pass through the jawbone and protrude from the outside of the mouth including the part under the chin.
But what are the symptoms of dental abscesses? And when should we see a doctor?
Symptoms of dental abscess include:
- Inflammation of the gum or around the mouth
- Tender or swollen lymph nodes
- Pain when chewing or biting food
- Pain when breathing
- Toothache or pain in the gums
- Producing an unpleasant odor and infection odor in the mouth
- Producing an unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Fever in some cases
- Pain in the jaw
- Red gums
- Making a volume like large pimples on the gums, which are amongst the most recognizable symptoms of dental abscesses
In some cases the patients have no apparent symptoms which can help detect a dental abscess. Moreover they can’t distinguish the cause of their toothache. When seeing a dentist, he can diagnose if the patient has an abscess or not by X-ray.
How to prevent a dental abscess?
The main cause of a dental abscess is a bacterial space inside the mouth. Thus, one of the most typical ways to prevent dental abscesses is by following tips related to the oral and dental health. Periodontal abscesses are generally caused due to leftover foods between teeth which result into an interdental gum infection. So, these abscesses can be prevented by observing oral and dental health tips.
But in case of suffering from this kind of abscess, it should be treated fast and the possibility of its recurrence should be prevented by observing health tips. Also, periapical abscesses are caused due to deep tooth decays and negligence in taking care of them. So, if a decayed tooth is not treated early, periapical abscesses are possible.
Some ways to prevent dental abscesses include:
- Observing oral and dental health tips, brushing teeth regularly, using mouthwash and dental floss
- Having a dentistry check-up every six months and early treatment of decayed teeth
- Treating loose or cracked teeth immediately after realization
- Being careful about the consumption of sugar and sweets in order to control the health of teeth
- Not consuming soft drinks because its sugary substances can cause cavities and porosity in the teeth in the long run
Treating dental abscesses
In case the infection is not very serious, it can be controlled and decreased by taking antibiotics and the tooth needs a root canal, too. If the tooth is entirely infected and it cannot be saved anymore, the dentist will have to extract it. Also in very critical conditions the infection should be drained.
Common questions regarding dental abscesses
1-Is a dental abscess treated on its own?
If you are suspicious about a dental abscess, make sure to see a dentist because it is not treated on its own. Moreover, any delay in seeing a dentist may cause you to lose your tooth. Likewise, the infection may spread to your whole neck.
2-Is a dental abscess regarded as an emergency situation?
Tooth abscesses are a life-threatening and acute condition in which a pus bag in the tooth leads to infection… This is an emergency situation because the infection can spread to the jaw, surrounding tissues and other parts of the body.
3-How long can a dental abscess be kept without being seriously treated?
Antibiotics are usually effective in controlling dental abscesses. Many symptoms are relieved within two days, and the abscess usually heals after five days of antibiotic treatment. If the infection is extremely extensive, in addition to an antibiotic therapy, it may be essential to have a tooth abscess emptied and drained by a professional dentist.
4-Why can’t a tooth with an abscess be extracted?
A tooth abscess is not limited only to that tooth. This swelling and infection can be transmitted to other places. Hence, the best way to get rid of a dental infection is to have a root canal. If the tooth cannot be saved, the patient must first receive medication to control the degree of infection and then have the tooth extracted.