Dental Abscess – An Overview
A dental abscess is a pocket of pus usually caused by a bacterial infection. The abscess can occur at different regions of the tooth for different reasons. It may occur at the tip of the root. A periapical tooth abscess can occur as a result of an untreated dental cavity, an injury or prior dental work. A dental abscess should be taken care of as soon as possible otherwise it can be extremely serious, even life-threatening.
Dental Abscess Symptoms
The most common signs and symptoms of a dental abscess are as follows:
- Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Swelling in your face or cheek
- Sensitivity to the pressure of chewing or biting
- Severe, persistent, throbbing toothache that can radiate to the jawbone, neck or ear
- Tender, swollen lymph nodes under your jaw or in your neck
- Sudden rush of foul-smelling and foul-tasting, salty fluid in your mouth
- Pain relief if the abscess ruptures
If you have some/any/all of the above symptoms, consult a doctor immediately.
Dental Abscess Risk factors
You may be at a higher risk of a tooth abscess if you have:
- Poor dental hygiene: If you do not take proper care of your teeth and gums, not brush your teeth or floss regularly, you are at a higher risk of tooth decay, gum disease, tooth abscess, and other dental and mouth complications.
- A diet rich in sugar: Eating and drinking foods rich in sugar very often can put at risk of getting to dental cavities that may turn into a tooth abscess.
Dental Abscess Diagnosis
In order to confirm your diagnosis of a dental abscess, your dentist will first thoroughly examine the affected area of the mouth. For this, he may:
- Tap on your teeth: A tooth that has an abscess at its root is generally sensitive to touch or pressure.
- Recommend an X-ray: An X-ray of the aching tooth can help identify an abscess
- Recommend a CT scan: If the abscess has spread to other areas within the neck, a CT scan may be scan may be recommended
Dental Abscess Treatment
For treatment, your doctor may:
- Perform a root canal treatment
- Prescribe antibiotics
- Open up (incise) and drain the abscess
- Pull out the affected tooth