Dental abscesses affect a lot of people with poor dental health. A dental abscess is an accumulation of pus made from bacteria, dead tissue, and dead white blood cells which forms inside the tooth. They can affect any tooth, but the wisdom teeth are specifically vulnerable to them.
There are two types of dental abscesses:
- Periapical abscess – affects the tooth
- Periodontal abscess – affects the gum
Bacterial tooth infections or cavities cause dental abscesses. From within the pulp chamber of the tooth, the bacteria multiply, then spread through the tooth down to the root and bone. The abscessed tooth will then become painful.
If you don’t treat a dental abscess, the infection can spread to other areas of the body, such as the facial bones, jaw, neck, or throat. In worst cases, dentists would need to extract an abscessed tooth.
Below are some other causes of tooth decay:
- Blow to the tooth
- Chipped teeth
- Consuming plenty of starchy food and sugary drinks
- Gingivitis or other gum diseases
- Clenching or grinding the teeth over a long period
- Poor oral healthcare
- Previous dental surgery
- Alcohol consumption
- Weakened immune system
There are many symptoms which can indicate a dental abscess, including:
- Aching, sore, or swollen jaw
- Bad taste and unpleasant smell in your mouth
- Blocked airway
- Darker and discolored teeth
- Difficulty or pain when you chew food
- Inflamed, red, or swollen gums
- Open, leaking sore within your mouth
- Sensitive teeth
- Swollen neck glands
- Throbbing pain
It is worth remembering that if the pulp within your tooth dies because of the infection, the pain may go away. However, this does not mean that the abscessed tooth healed or is no longer a problem. The tooth infection will continue to spread, so it is vital that you seek dental attention if you fall in with any of these symptoms.
How to prevent a dental abscess?
By maintaining good oral health, you can avoid getting a dental abscess. You should:
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption or smoking
- Brush and floss your teeth properly, several times a day
- Cut down on sugary food and drinks
How Do You Treat an Abscessed Tooth?
To treat a dental abscess, you need to remove the source of the tooth infection and the pus drained from it.
In root canal surgery, the dentist removes the abscess, then she fills and seals it off afterward. After a few months, she can put a dental crown on the tooth to keep it protected for the future.
The dentist can also treat an abscessed tooth by making an incision into the gum tissue, thereby draining the abscess. In case of severe damage, she would need to extract the entire tooth.
Even if the abscess ruptures by itself, you will still need to receive treatment from a dentist. Rinse your mouth with warm water to sterilize the wound and allow the pus to drain. Make an appointment with your dentist so you can receive professional treatment.