If you notice dark and thick pus draining from under the gum around your tooth, you may have an abscessed tooth. The pus indicates that your tooth is infected, and harmful bacteria decompose the tissue. The area around the infected tooth can also be swollen, red, and painful.
A swollen and painful gum, abscessed tooth can impact a person’s ability to eat and speak comfortably. Most people only realize they have an abscessed tooth when it starts causing significant pain, or it has spread to other parts of the body, such as your ear or neck.
You might be wondering how frequently abscesses can occur. It depends on a person; it can appear once or twice in a lifetime. Even if it occurs only once, it needs the same level of attention as if it happens frequently.
Tooth Abscesses – Statistics
Poor dental hygiene and dental caries are among the most common causes of a dental abscess, but more so in the United States of America. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, dental caries and tooth loss affect 91% of adults aged between 20 and 64. Another study shows that 1 out of every 2600 people were admitted to a hospital with an oral infection.
Chewing becomes difficult as you grow older, especially if you do not have teeth. It keeps your mouth dry, resulting in bacteria, leading to infection and gum disease. According to the CDC, 23% of adults aged 65 to 74 suffer from severe periodontal diseases.
Treatment for an abscessed tooth can involve draining the infection, taking antibiotics, and sometimes, tooth extraction. Here is a detailed guide by Soft Touch Dentistry in Sacramento, California, to help you learn everything about an abscessed tooth.
Symptoms of an Abscess Tooth
Dental abscesses are more common than you think, and they might look strange, but they can be easily treated if caught early. The signs of a dental abscess are similar to other infections in the mouth. Let’s go over these symptoms;
- Severe, throbbing pain in your gums or around a tooth that may extend to your neck or ear
- Persistent pain while eating (chewing or biting)
- Tooth sensitivity (hot and cold)
- Bitter mouth taste
- Cheek swelling or face redness
- Breathing difficulties
- Bad breath, stained teeth
- When your abscess ruptures and the pus flows out, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
What Causes Tooth Abscess?
An abscess is typically a space-occupying lesion that presents as a fluctuant tooth swelling filled with pus. It can happen anywhere near a tooth, infecting the broken tooth and the neighboring teeth and their bones.
The outer surface of a tooth is hard, but the internal part is filled with blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues that can be damaged. The infections that cause tooth abscess include:
A gingival abscess is an infection caused by bacteria spread by the gums. The gum gets infected by tooth decay, fractured teeth, harsh brushing, bleeding, or food lodged in the gum line. Traumatic damage or severe orthodontic stress on the teeth can also explain this type of abscess.
A periodontal abscess is an infection in the tooth’s tissue supporting the gum alongside the root. When the tissue separates from the root, a periodontal pocket (a small gap) is created. It’s critical to ensure this pocket is clean, as it gets infected quickly. A periodontal abscess can result from increased germs in the periodontal pocket. This type of abscess is common among adults.
A periapical abscess is a dental illness where pus forms around a tooth’s root. This can happen when germs from your mouth feed on food particles and penetrate the tooth’s root, causing infection. Once the periapical abscess fills up with pus and blood, it causes swelling and irritation, making it difficult to breathe or talk. The patient may experience intense pain in their jaw, teeth, and neck.
How Do You Treat an Abscess in Your Mouth?
When an abscess forms in your mouth, it causes excruciating pain. Treating an abscessed tooth in Sacramento, California, can be a challenge. The infection can occur in different parts of the body, and the treatment for each of these conditions is different.
The treatment is focused on relieving your discomfort. This is why it is essential first to examine your situation. In this case, a dental X-ray will be helpful to determine whether the infection has spread to other regions of the body.
The dentist will treat you in one of the following ways, depending on your condition:
- If your immune system is weak or the infection has spread to the nearby areas of your mouth, the dentist will prescribe antibiotics to prevent it from further spreading.
- To drain the infection and reduce discomfort, your dentist will make a small cut in the abscess to remove the pus. They will then use salt water to cleanse the area.
- If you have a damaged tooth, your dentist will extract the tooth and then drain the abscess. This is done if you do not want a root canal.
- Lastly, a root canal is an option. This may aid in the removal of the infection. A root canal is a procedure in which your dentist drills into an infected tooth, removes the infection, and drains the abscess.
The hole will be filled and sealed. A crown will be placed to support your tooth, especially a molar.
How Can I Get Rid of Abscess Without Going to the Dentist?
The best way to get rid of your abscess is to consult a dentist. But you can use a few home remedies to treat an abscess by yourself if you cannot visit a dentist.
- Rinse your mouth with saltwater to get temporary relief from severe abscess pain. You do not have to purchase anything, and it’s an affordable yet simple remedy to provide relief to your gums. Try it twice or three a day for at least 2 minutes.
- A similar remedy is baking soda, which is readily available in your kitchen. The procedure is the same, replace salt with baking soda, then rinse your mouth with it for 5 minutes, twice a day. It helps prevent cavities and fight against bacteria to provide you relief from your pain.
- Another way to get quick relief is to use an ice pack. Apply it on the infected area for at least 10-15 minutes. You can use it as per your needs.
- Garlic is another way to treat your tooth infection. It may have a foul odor, but its relief makes up for it. You have to peel a few cloves of garlic and crush them to make a paste. Then, apply it to the infected area for a few minutes.
You can also take painkillers like aspirin or naproxen, coconut oil as it has antibacterial characteristics, or aloe vera gel as it carries natural antibacterial properties that can help reduce pain in your infected tooth.
Abscessed Tooth – An Emergency
Is an abscessed tooth considered an emergency? What are the consequences if an abscess is not treated promptly? The response to these questions depends on the severity of the abscess and the patient’s medical history.
How Do I Know if My Abscess Tooth Is Spreading?
When you’re suffering from an abscess, it’s usually hard to tell whether it’s getting better or spreading to other parts of your body. Some signs of an abscess spreading include stomach ache, headache, dizziness, swelling, sweating, rapid increase in the pulse, dehydration, and more.
Can a Tooth Infection Go Away Itself?
Yes, but not without a bit of effort. Most tooth infections typically go away by themselves in around two weeks. Generally, it means that the body kills bacteria. This action also helps remove any debris the bacteria spread throughout the body. Making sure we brush at least twice a day, and regularly floss, can speed up the process.
Even if you are no longer in pain, consult your dentist if you have other symptoms of a tooth infection.
When to See a Doctor?
It would be best if you treated tooth abscesses as early as possible. Early symptoms might include unbearable pain, swelling, and fever. If not treated early, the infection could spread to other body parts. Other alarming symptoms might include high fever, breathing difficulty, and extreme swelling. If so, visit Soft Touch Dentistry in Sacramento, California, to seek emergency treatment.
Who Gets Tooth Infection?
Good oral hygiene is the key to preventing tooth infections. When a cavity surrounds your tooth, it gets infected. However, there are ways to prevent tooth infections.
- If you have a dry mouth, this is another sign. The most common factors of dry mouth are medicine and age.
- If you smoke, you carry the risk of developing a tooth infection. To avoid this, smokers should wash their teeth twice as often as non-smokers.
- If you eat a lot of sweets, chocolates, and sugary foods, there’s a possibility your tooth may have a cavity and develop an abscess.
- Another factor to consider is a weaker immune system. If your immune system is weak, you won’t fight germs or bacteria.
- Lastly, oral hygiene is critical. Poor hygiene can lead to oral infection. Only by cleaning your teeth regularly can you combat bacteria and germs.
Can an Abscessed Tooth Be Prevented?
Every tooth contains a packet of bacteria because it receives a constant supply of saliva. An abscess can form if that pocket becomes infected, putting your dental health at risk.
It’s essential to keep track of your dental health to safeguard your mouth. Follow these steps to keep your mouth healthy and free from germs.
- Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes.
- Floss every day to clean areas between your teeth and gums that are difficult to reach.
- Use a mouthwash or an antiseptic to improve the protective coating surrounding your teeth. Add fluoridated water to your routine.
- Avoid taking snacks in between meals.
- Limit your sugar intake and avoid drinks that can cause cavities and result in an abscess.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or when the bristles fray.
- Don’t forget to clean your tongue while brushing.
- Visit your dentist for weekly or monthly checkups.
If you’re experiencing throbbing pain in your tooth, you might have an abscess. You should not take the occurrence of abscesses lightly. Ensure to get the abscess checked because the infection can even spread to the ears or throat if left untreated.
There are many potential causes of an abscess, and you should consult your doctor to find a way to treat it. To avoid tooth abscesses and other oral diseases, it’s essential to take the best possible care of your teeth and gums. Many people neglect their dental health, but at the least, everyone should make a habit of brushing their teeth twice a day. After all, precaution is better than cure.
If you happen to have unbearable pain in your teeth, contact Soft Touch Dentistry in Sacramento, California. If you need more information about tooth abscesses, get in touch with them. Think you are dealing with a tooth abscess? Allow Dr. Andrew Owyoung to offer you the best possible dental treatment.