Potential dental issues should never be ignored, regardless of how minor the symptoms might appear to be. If you suspect that you might have a dental infection, then you should seek out treatment for a tooth abscess from a dental professional as quickly as possible. Consider this a resourceful and informative starting point and if any of the following information pertains to you, contact your dentist immediately.
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What Is an Abscessed Tooth?
Bacterial infections cause an abscess tooth. Essentially, this means that a pocket of pus has formed around your tooth and it needs to be drained as soon as possible. An abscess can occur throughout different parts of your tooth or gums or on multiple teeth simultaneously and if left untreated it can spread to other parts of your oral cavity. In extreme cases, the infection can eventually spread to your head, neck and throughout your body. Of course these are worst case scenarios, but their likelihood of occurring shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Types of Dental Abscesses
There are three main types of dental abscesses and they each have a unique set of causes, symptoms, and degrees of severity.
Periapical abscesses form as a direct result of cavities that have gone untreated for too long. Cavities are holes in teeth that develop over time for a variety of reasons, most notably very poor dental hygiene, ill-advised eating habits and neglecting to get routine dental cleanings. The longer cavities are left untreated, the more the infrastructure of the tooth deteriorates and bacteria are allowed to penetrate the hard shell of the tooth, gaining access to the soft vulnerable tissue inside. Periapical abscesses develop at the root of the tooth.
Periodontal abscesses, which are akin to gum disease, are infections that occur inside or on the surface of the gums right next to the root of the tooth and between the teeth.
Gingival abscesses are the result of infections that are localized in various parts of the gums and don’t typically affect the teeth whatsoever; although, they can spread to the teeth and other parts of the oral cavity if treatment isn’t administered.
Abscessed Tooth Symptoms, Signs, and Causes
There are many indicators that you may have one or multiple abscessed teeth or gums. The problem is determining what type of abscessed tooth you may have and how to appropriately treat it. Additionally, some abscessed tooth symptoms are so generic that they can often overlap with other physical ailments. The best way to determine whether or not you actually have an abscess is to regularly visit your dentist. In some cases, they might even refer you to an endodontist for diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of an abscessed tooth can include pain when biting down (especially in the infected area), minor or extreme localized tooth sensitivity, fever, a constant bad taste in your mouth, difficulties swallowing; inability to get a full night’s sleep, stiffness in the jaw muscles making it difficult to open and close your mouth and generally feeling unwell all over.
Out of all of those symptoms, throbbing tooth abscess pain is usually the most prominent and noticeable. If you feel any pain at all in your mouth, then you should seek dental treatment.
Abscessed Tooth Treatment
Since all three types of dental abscesses have unique causes, it means they also require different treatment methods. Anyone experiencing difficulty breathing or swallowing should seek medical treatment at the nearest emergency centre. Family physicians can offer temporary relief by prescribing pain medication, but they’re not qualified to treat the problem, so you should still make an appointment to see your dentist.
Periapical abscess treatment involves undergoing a root canal to extract the infectious pus from inside the tooth. Once the pus is removed, a filling is placed inside the tooth to prevent further infection and later usually a crown.
Periodontal abscess treatment involves completely draining and thoroughly cleaning the periodontal pocket. To facilitate a quick and painless healing process, your dentist will then smooth out the root of the tooth by scaling the portion beneath the gum line.
Gingival abscess treatment can be administered using one of two techniques. The pus can either be drained by making an incision in the affected area or the abscess can be completely removed from the gum pocket. Ultimately, the decision depends on the severity of the infection and whatever method your dentist thinks will be most effective.
FAQ about Dental Abscesses
1. Is a tooth abscess dangerous?
Yes, even though tooth abscesses can start off as minor infections, they can become fatal if they’re left untreated and allowed to spread throughout the body.
2. What does a tooth abscess look and feel like?
A tooth abscess typically looks like a small growth inside your mouth that has a red bulge and a white head. It can feel squishy and if pressed too hard, it might burst and release the pus inside.
3. Can you die from an abscessed tooth?
The infection itself can be fatal if it spreads throughout your body and to certain organs.
4. Can a tooth abscess give you headaches?
Yes, a tooth abscess can cause headaches.
5. Can a tooth abscess affect the brain?
Yes, if left untreated, the bacterial infection can eventually spread to the brain.
6. Can a dental abscess be cancerous?
While a dental abscess isn’t cancerous, cancer patients are more prone to being affected by bacterial infections in their oral cavities.
7. How long does a dental abscess take to heal?
Once you start treatment with antibiotics to manage and kill the infection, the majority of the symptoms will usually dissipate within two days and the cyst itself should clear up in five days of receiving the needed dental treatment required to clear the infection.
Make an Appointment at Princeview Dental Group Today!
If you’re worried that any of the above-mentioned information might pertain to you, then the dental professionals at Princeview Dental Group in Etobicoke would be more than happy to help! We can diagnose and treat various dental problems such as tooth abscesses. Schedule an appointment with us today to learn more!