So what exactly is an abscessed tooth? An abscessed tooth is a painful infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and tooth. It’s most commonly caused by severe tooth decay. Other causes of tooth abscess are trauma to the tooth, such as when it is broken or chipped, and gingivitis or gum disease can be strong contributing factors as well.
These problems can cause openings in the tooth enamel, which allows bacteria to infect the center of the tooth. The infection may sometimes also spread from the root of the tooth to the bones supporting the tooth.
Symptoms of an Abscessed Tooth
A severe and continuous toothache that is a throbbing type of pain is a very good indicator that you may have an abscessed tooth.
Other symptoms may include:
- Pain when chewing
- Sensitivity of the teeth to hot or cold
- Bitter taste in the mouth
- Foul smell to the breath
- Swollen neck glands
- General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling
- Redness and swelling of the gums
- Swollen area of the upper or lower jaw
- An open, draining sore on the side of the gum
Sometimes with an abscessed tooth the root of the tooth dies and then the pain will die as well. This should not be mistaken with thinking that your dental problems are gone. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to all of these potential symptoms when trying to diagnose a tooth abscess.
Treating an Abscessed Tooth
The goals of treatment for an abscessed tooth are to eliminate the infection, preserve the tooth, and prevent further complications. These goals are obtained through these three core strategies:
1. To eliminate infection, the abscess may need to be drained. Achieving drainage may be done through the tooth by a procedure known as a root canal. Root canal surgery may also be recommended to remove any diseased root tissue after the infection has subsided. Then, a crown may be placed over the tooth.
2. The tooth may also be extracted, allowing drainage through the socket.
3. Finally, a third way to drain the abscess would be by incision into the swollen gum tissue.
Antibiotics are prescribed to help fight the infection, and warm salt-water rinses relieve the pain and discomfort associated with an abscessed tooth. Over the counter pain medication like ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) can be used as well.
The inflammation and pain of abscesses may be relieved with a low-level laser, making the patient more comfortable to receive the injection in a more painless way.
Do you think that you may have an abscessed tooth? Then contact us today to schedule an appointment and finally stop the pain.