Last Updated on 9 months by Isreal Olabanji DST RN
There are people who “wait out” issues and tooth pain, hoping that the problems will simply go away because they’re afraid of visiting their dentist. Of course, this won’t solve your problems, especially when it comes to tooth abscess. Abscesses can form in different parts of the body, and they’re a natural defense mechanism that blocks infections from reaching other areas. When it comes to tooth abscess, however, both your teeth and gums are at risk.
There are two main causes of tooth abscess that we can point out. The most common cause being severe tooth decay that is related to a poor diet consisting of high sugar and processed foods. Another way tooth abscess can form is physical trauma. If a tooth is broken or even slightly chipped, this creates enough room for bacteria to spread, leading to infection. When the infection spreads to the inside of your tooth, you’re soon going to suffer swelling and inflammation.
Symptoms of Tooth abscess
The pus from the inflammation will make your gums exceptionally sensitive. Eating is surely going to be painful, but depending on the severity of the infection, swelling in your cheek or a throbbing toothache is also possible. The pain may decrease after the abscess is drained, but the real issue is the danger of the infection further spreading to your jaw. In some cases, individuals develop sepsis – a potentially life-threatening condition.
Types of Abscess
A dental abscess can be one of three types, depending on the location where it is formed: gingival, periodontal, and periapical abscess.
Gingival abscess forms on the surface tissue of our gums. The most likely cause is an injury, whether from a toothpick or food entering our gumline. If the condition is noticed on time, the treatment is relatively simple and recovery is quick. The longer we delay our visit to the dentist, though, we’re increasing the chances of a complication. While these conditions may seem benign, progression into periodontal abscess is possible and this will further cause severe oral damage.
Periodontal abscess differs from its gingival variant in that it occurs deeper in the gum pockets. As we’re unable to drain the pus, the abscess spreads into other tissue and the jawbone.
The final variant, which begins in the pulp of our teeth, is called a periapical abscess. Usually, the result of tooth decay, this type of abscess is due to infection which was able to enter through a crack in the tooth. This may be the most dangerous kind of condition, as bacteria can easily invade the nerves of our teeth.
Treatment of tooth abscess
The first thing that will need to be done is the drainage of the abscess. This is a relatively simple process as the pus can be released by applying pressure, similar to a pimple. Following this, the dentist will scrape off any infected material from inside the abscess. You may need to have an x-ray taken to determine what kind of abscess has formed, and how far it has spread. When the dentist can’t access the infected area, he will make a small incision in your gums. If the infection hasn’t spread too far, no special treatment will be needed apart from antibiotics to speed up recovery.
Whether you’re looking for professionals, such as the dentists at Terrigal Dental, or you don’t mind visiting a local dentist, it is important to call them in time. As mentioned prior, while this condition in itself might not be life-threatening, it could lead to complications that can be easily prevented.
Prevention of tooth abscess
As far as prevention is concerned, there aren’t any special steps that will make you immune to a tooth abscess. However, avoiding tooth decay is something we can easily do. Brush your teeth regularly, replace your toothbrush every few months, and remember to eat healthy food. Regularly going to checkups is important, even if your gums are as healthy as can be. If you’re considering adding an extra layer of protection against tooth decay and bacteria, buy an antiseptic mouth rinse.
Most people are afraid of visiting the dentist and generally wait out any pain, hoping for the best. However, if the issue is serious, this type of thinking will only cause you more harm down the road. An early tooth abscess is easily solved, akin to popping a pimple. If we dive into a later stage of an abscess, a tooth may even need to be removed. Treatment is simple and recovery is quick, as long as we contact the professionals on time.
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