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What to Know About Dental Abscesses

Posted on 1/9/2023 by Brandon Cooley
What to Know About Dental AbscessesThe term abscess refers to a pocket of pus caused by a bacterial infection of the tooth. Different types of abscesses can develop around teeth for different reasons, and they can affect not only the involved tooth, but the surrounding bone and sometimes neighboring teeth. Those who smoke, have dry mouth, practice poor dental hygiene, and have a weakened immune system are more likely to develop tooth infections. Untreated tooth infections may spread to the jawbone, soft tissues of the face and neck, and even the lungs. It is possible for the infection to travel to the heart (endocarditis) or brain (bacterial meningitis) in very rare cases.

Causes of Abscesses

The presence of any openings that allow bacteria to enter the tooth or surrounding tissues can result in a tooth infection. The most common causes of tooth decay are severe decay, broken, chipped, and cracked teeth, gum disease, and injury to the tooth. Symptoms of an infected tooth may include throbbing, sharp pain, continuous pain, and radiating pain to the ear, neck, or jawbone. An infection may also cause tooth sensitivity, bitter taste, gum swelling and redness, loose teeth, and swollen jaws. It is also possible for you to experience a fever, swollen glands in your neck, and a feeling of unwellness.

Treatment of Abscesses

Infections should be eliminated, and complications avoided through treatment. The treatment options include incisions and drainage, root canals, extractions, and antibiotics. It may be necessary for your dentist to make a small incision in the abscess to drain the pus. A small rubber drain may be placed in the area to facilitate drainage. When a root canal is required, this treatment will preserve your tooth while removing the infection. To prevent infection, the inner pulp of the tooth is removed, and the space is filled. In some cases, the tooth cannot be saved, and in these situations, it must be extracted to allow the pus to drain from the socket. You may be required to take antibiotics by your dentist.

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