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Abscessed Tooth: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Risks & Prevention

A dental abscess develops when bacteria infect and proliferate inside the gums, a tooth, or the surrounding tissue. This can start as a cavity or a tooth infection and may cause throbbing pain. Dental abscesses are more common in people with poor dental health due to poor oral hygiene.

What are the causes of Dental Abscesses?

The bacteria from a previous cavity can cause a dental abscess in the neck's bones and the face, and soft tissues.

Similarly, an infected tooth that hasn't received proper dental care can lead to a dental abscess formation. Lack of regular dental care can also cause cavities to accumulate in the teeth. Thus, the infection may circulate to the adjacent areas and in the gums, becoming a very severe dental abscess.

What are the signs and symptoms of an Abscessed Tooth?

  • There is a pimple or swelling on the gum that is also filled with pus. A pimple is referred to as a draining fistula, and this can usually be ruptured to release the pus. This is a very noticeable indication of infection. Further, other tooth abscess signs are an unpleasant odor in the mouth or bad taste.
  • You have pain or discomfort when eating. The abscess that has disseminated in the tip of the root causes the bones and gums to be affected. At times, the pulsating or throbbing pain is so severe that it can no longer be relieved with pain medications. Moreover, this is commonly linked with the spread of the infection and eventually causes more pressure on bones and gums' nearby structures.
  • The affected tooth is becoming discolored. The fall-out of the neurotic pulp that flows into the tooth's permeable layer causes discoloration, which turns the tooth in dark color compared to the neighboring teeth.
  • There are cases when an abscessed tooth does not any symptoms at all. Since the tooth has lost its capability to feel stimuli or has lost its vitality, there may be no discomfort or pain linked to it. But, the abscess is still present and may still disperse the infection.
  • Sometimes an abscessed tooth is diagnosed during X-ray exam where the patient has not encountered any symptoms of this condition.

How are Dental Abscesses Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of an abscessed tooth is generally identified by:

  • Signs and symptoms as reported by the patient
  • What is observed or visualized with X-rays
  • Tests and examinations which are performed by the dentist

How is an Abscessed Tooth Prevented?

  • As always, prevention plays a very pivotal role in keeping excellent dental health. Daily flossingbrushing at least twice per day, rinsing with fluoride-based mouthwash, regular dental checkups, and professional cleanings can greatly help prevent dental abscess and tooth decay.
  • Avoid cigarette smoking and as much as possible limit your alcohol consumption.
  • Cavities that could become abscesses can be prevented if tooth decay is detected and treated early on.

How is an Abscessed Tooth Treated?

The common treatment for an abscessed tooth for adult teeth starts with carefully removing the infection. Hinging on how much infection has proliferated, the course of action typically comprises draining the tooth and its surrounding structures of the infection and through the help of oral antibiotics.

When the infection is removed, the tooth can be restored with a root canal. This procedure cleans out the pulp chamber and the connected canals and then carefully covers the space using a gutta-percha known as an inert material that is made of rubber.

In actuality, cleaning and covering the inner space to shield the tooth from more invasive infections. On the other hand, the tooth is extracted instead if the tooth can no longer be restored. This is fundamental in impeding a persistent condition that could damage other teeth.

Through over-the-counter medications like paracetamol and ibuprofen, the pain associated with a dental abscess may be relieved.

Warm water rinses can greatly help cleanse the mouth and reassure drainage if an abscess bursts by itself.

Please take note that a dental abscess generally won't get better on its own. The dentist is the only one who can remove or treat the infected teeth and drain the pus to prevent further oral and non-oral related problems.

Emergency Care

In some cases, the infection can disseminate rapidly and necessitate urgent attention. Likewise, if the emergency dentist is unavailable and there is already swelling in the face and the jaw and fever, it is advisable to go to the emergency room and check it.

Additionally, dentists typically have out-of-hours contact numbers so consider using local NHS helplines for you to access out-of-hours dental service easily.

However, it is vital to go to the emergency room if you're immediately is having trouble swallowing or breathing.

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