Tooth Abscess: Symptoms and Treatment
What is a tooth abscess?
If your jaw is aching, swollen, and feels sensitive when touch, you may have an abscessed tooth. A bacterial infection is what causes an abscess. An abscess is pus made up of dead cells and bacteria and can occur in different parts of your mouth. A tooth abscess is different from gum abscess due to the location of where it forms. A tooth abscess occurs deep inside the root of your tooth by bacteria. This type of abscess is called a periapical abscess. A tooth abscess is commonly caused by a cavity or cracked tooth exposing the soft and living tissue inside your tooth to bacteria. The abscess irritates the nerves inside the tooth’s pulp causing it to become inflamed. The inflamed pulp cause discomfort and pain when left untreated.
Tooth abscess signs and symptoms
The first sign of a tooth abscess is severe and persistent toothache pain. Your tooth may become sensitive to hot and cold drinks or foods when you eat. When eating food and chewing, you may feel more pressure than usual when biting. You may also feel feverish with swollen lymph nodes. You should see a dentist immediately if these symptoms persist and do not go away.
Tooth abscess treatment
When you see your dentist for an abscessed tooth, the dentist will examine your tooth and the surrounding area. The dentist will examine the abscessed tooth by tapping the tooth to determine if the tooth is sensitive to touch. Sensitivity may indicate that tooth abscess is likely when surrounding gums are also swollen. For a thorough tooth abscess diagnosis, your dentist will order a dental X-ray to determine the location of the abscess. An X-ray will allow your dentist to determine if the tooth abscess has spread to other parts of your mouth or if it’s localized.
Based on the dental examination and the severity of the infection, an abscessed tooth can be treated by antibiotics, draining the abscess, root canal therapy, or tooth extraction. Antibiotics can be used to neutralize the bacteria that is causing the infection. Your dentist can also make an incision into the abscess to relieve pus and then clean the area. If the abscess is caused by decay or a cracked tooth, a root canal can help eliminate the infection. During a root canal therapy, your dentist will drill the infected tooth to access the diseased pulp to drain the abscess. In situations where the tooth cannot be saved because it is severely disease, the dentist will recommend extracting the tooth to drain the abscess.
If you are experiencing a toothache, you should contact your dentist immediately for a consultation. Be sure to contact California Dental Group at (800) 407-0161 for your appointment.