Dental Tips Blog

Dec
26

What Is a Tooth Abscess?

Posted in Gum Disease

An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms in gums or bone as a result of an infection. It can also occur alongside of teeth with serious periodontal disease. Most commonly, an abscess forms at the tip of a tooth root after it’s been compromised by decay or trauma.

Signs You May Have An Abscess 

An abscess can cause severe pain, but in some cases it won’t hurt at all. Other symptoms can include:

  • Pimple on the gums (where pus drains out)
  • Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
  • Your tooth is extremely sensitive to pressure and/or temperature
  • Swelling in your face
  • Red, swollen gums
  • Fracture or advanced decay in the tooth

Your dentist will most likely need to take an x-ray to pinpoint where the infection is originating.

Will It Go Away On Its Own?

No. This is a serious bacterial infection looking for a way out. As an abscess grows, it eats away at the tooth root and surrounding bone. There’s also a risk of the infection spreading to other parts of your body.

How To Treat An Abscessed Tooth

Get some relief by swishing lukewarm salt water to bring down inflammation and encourage the release of pressure. You can also take an over the counter medication such as ibuprofen.

These measures aren’t meant to buy you extra time. You still need to contact your dentist ASAP. If you have to wait for your appointment, these steps will help you get some relief before your scheduled visit.

Your dentist may need to drain the abscess if it’s very large. You’ll may even take some antibiotics. But to treat it thoroughly, your dentist will either need to do a root canal or extract the tooth.

The sooner your see your dentist, the sooner you’ll get relief and the better your chances of holding onto your natural tooth!

Posted on behalf of:
Riverheart Family Dentistry
8618 Mexico Road
O’Fallon, MO 63366
(636) 205-4045

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