Also known as a dental abscess, a tooth abscess is the formation of pus in the gum. The pus can also form in the tooth proper. Since the condition can result in a great deal of pain and lead to other dental issues, prompt treatment is required. Here are some of the things you should know about an abscess tooth or gum, some of the signs you have this issue, and how a dental professional can treat your condition.
What Causes the Abscess?
Bacteria is the root cause for an abscess. One of the ways that the bacteria collects and ultimately triggers the formation of pus is an untreated cavity. As the cavity deepens, more bacteria forms and collects. The abscess can also form as the result of an injury or due to a complication from a previous dental procedure.
The abscess may form at the tip of the tooth root. This is known as a periapical abscess. A periodontal abscess refers to pus that develops in the gum tissue surrounding the tooth. If the abscess forms in the tooth proper, it’s usually referred to as a periapical tooth abscess. Your North York dentist can determine the type of abscess present and administer the most practical treatment.
What are Some of the Symptoms?
The most common symptom associated with any type of dental abscess is pain. You will notice a throbbing sensation that seems to emit from the tooth or the area just around it. Some people notice that the pain sometimes seems to emanate from the jawbone, the neck, or even the base of the ear.
You’ll also notice that consuming anything that’s hot or cold triggers bouts of pain. There is increased sensitivity when you attempt to bite or chew. It’s not unusual for people to notice they have a slightly elevated temperature or experience swelling on the cheek. If the pus leaks through the gum tissue, you’ll notice a sudden taste of something foul in the mouth. This also causes your breathe to take on a noxious odor.
Remember that you don’t have to experience all these symptoms in order for an abscess to be present. For example, you may not notice much pain, but there is some swelling in the gum tissue around the tooth. That area may be slightly tender but otherwise causes no discomfort. Even if you are not in a lot of pain, the abscess needs to be treated as quickly as possible.
How is an Abscess Treated?
The first line of treatment is to drain the pus. This is often managed by creating an incision that allows the pus to escape. Once it’s drained, the dental professional will be able to assess the amount of damage and determine what additional treatments are needed.
If possible, the dental professional will want to save the tooth. Undergoing dental surgery like a root canal is often the method of choice. This allows the surgeon to drill into the tooth reach the pulp, and extract the damaged portion. After that, the area is filled and possibly a cap or crown added to restore the appearance of the tooth. If the damage is significant, the dentist may extract the tooth and recommend that you have a bridge or an implant installed.
An abscessed tooth is nothing to take lightly. Left untreated, it can spread infection to other teeth and cause significant damage. If you suspect that an abscessed tooth is present, call your dentist today. In the long run, you will be much healthier.