Dental Tips Blog


What to Do if You Have an Abscessed Tooth

Posted in Root Canals

Dental abscesses usually appear as small pimples or swelling along the gum tissues inside of the mouth. The abscess may come and go, drain, or leave a bad taste in the mouth. Bacteria from the infection come from inside of the tooth…deep inside the nerve chamber, when a tooth has experienced trauma or a deep cavity.

Your dentist can confirm the abscess as well as determine the extent of the infection by examining the area and taking an x-ray of the tooth. If the infection is extremely severe, it may be necessary to prescribe an antibiotic before any treatment is completed. This will cause the bulk of the infection to decrease long enough for treatment to be performed.

An abscessed tooth will either need to have a root canal or be removed. In the majority of cases, root canal therapy is the choice method of treatment. This allows the tooth to last for several more years and prevents the need for tooth replacement. During a root canal, the damaged portion of the tooth is removed. Damaged nerve tissue is also removed, and the nerve chamber is cleaned, medicated, and sealed off permanently. The tooth is then prepped for a full coverage crown, which prevents the non-vital tooth from chipping away.

Extractions are usually only necessary if the infection is too severe for the tooth to be restored. If the infection is addressed as early as possible, this can be avoided.

Sometimes abscessed teeth can also cause pain, but not always. If you’re experiencing pain from an abscess, ask your dentist about pain relief until your treatment can be completed.

Posted on behalf of Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD

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