Ouch! You woke up this morning with a dull throb in your mouth. Or maybe last night you noticed a funny taste in your mouth.
You might have an abscessed tooth. An abscessed tooth is caused from tooth decay, a cracked tooth, or gum disease that then causes an infection in the tooth. This infection is what causes the pain and bad taste in your mouth. Other symptoms of a tooth abscess include swelling on the side of the mouth where the infection is, bright redness in or around the tooth line and in the gums where the abscess is, or even a fever. You may even be able to see a small pocket full of pus in your mouth. This is called a pus-pocket and is the actual abscess.
Tooth abscesses must be treated. If not treated, very serious infections can occur in the jaw bone, other teeth and gums. Tooth abscesses are easily treated, especially at the beginning. The longer that the infection is allowed to go on, the harder it is to treat.
Different treatments for tooth abscesses include antibiotics, incision and drainage of the pus-pocket, detailed tooth cleaning in and around the infected spaces, and root canals with crowning. Root canals and crowning are usually needed if the abscess was caused from a cracked tooth.
Tooth abscesses can be prevented by seeing your dentist regularly and receiving routine dental cleanings, as well as practicing good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing daily. If you notice a broken or cracked tooth, or have any injuries to your mouth, you should see your dentist quickly. If you are experiencing pain in your mouth, contact your local dentist immediately for an appointment. A tooth abscess is best treated early.
If you are about to have a root canal, you may be experiencing some anxiety about the procedure especially if you have not had a root canal or have unpleasant memories of a root canal done many years ago. The good news is that having a root canal is not the ordeal that many people believe it to be. Knowing what to expect can help reduce your anxiety and allow you to have a comfortable root canal.
Root canals take longer than having a cavity filled or your teeth cleaned, but with modern dental techniques such as topical numbing agents, improved injection methods, and the use of sedatives when needed, your root canal treatment should be virtually pain free. You can expect the tooth to be sore for a day or two following the procedure, but nothing that cannot be handled with over the counter pain relievers like Tylenol or Advil.
Your dentist will first numb the area around the tooth so that you will feel no pain during the treatment. A small rubber dam will be placed around the tooth to keep the area dry. A hole will be drilled through the top or back of the tooth to access the pulp chamber. The infected pulp will be removed, the pulp chamber disinfected, and the area filled with a sterile material.
A temporary cap or filling will be placed on the tooth. Usually, you will need a second visit to have a permanent cap placed on the tooth. A cap protects the pulp chamber and adds strength to the tooth. Once the procedure is complete and the soreness has subsided, your tooth should no longer hurt or be sensitive to hot and cold. It will act and feel like your other natural teeth and should last almost indefinitely.
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