An abscessed tooth, also called a dental abscess is a pocket of pus in the mouth caused by a bacterial infection. It is similar to having a pimple, but on the sides of your teeth and your gums and it can be extremely painful. Abscessed teeth, if not treated properly by a dental professional, can become further infected and cause more harm to the infected area but teeth next to the infected tooth as well.
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Common Symptoms Of Abscessed Teeth
The main symptom of an abscessed tooth are:
- throbbing pain in your mouth, either near a tooth or in your gums.
- pain in or around the tooth
- Pimple like growth of gums/side of tooth
- Swollen gums
- Redness in the gums
If you have any of these symptoms, you may have an abscessed tooth. While pain and swelling are common signs of an abscess, you may not have any symptoms because the pus pocket has found somewhere to drain or if the tooth may have previously had a root canal.
The best way to determine if you have an abscessed tooth is by making an appointment with your dentist. They can then review your symptoms, make an accurate diagnosis and give you their recommended treatment plan. And if you don’t have any symptoms, dentists can also spot an abscess through an X-ray as part of a routine exam.
It’s important to have any potential abscessed tooth examined and treated by a dentist. Even if the abscess has ruptured, you’ll want to have an examination and cleaning by your dentist to make sure the infection doesn’t spread.
Common Causes Of Tooth Abscess
Common causes of an abscess include:
- Gum disease
- Gum infection
- Cracked/broken tooth
- Loss of tooth pulp
- Failed or failing root canal
- Poor oral hygiene
How Can I Stop And Prevent A Dental Abscess?
Depending on the type and severity of your dental abscess, your dentist may use treatment options including:
- Use of an antibiotic to get rid of the infection
- Incision to drain pus from the abscess
- Root canal
- Retreatment of previously root canal treated tooth
- Tooth extraction
To help prevent a dental abscess from occurring, take these easy steps to keep your teeth and gums healthy:
- Schedule regular checkups and teeth cleanings with a dentist.
- Brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss every day to clean hard-to-reach spots between your teeth and gums.
- If you have a loose tooth or cracked tooth, make a dentist appointment as soon as possible.
Who Treats A Dental Abscess?
Typically, your general dentist can treat a dental abscess, but in some cases, your dentist may refer you to a specialist, such as an endodontist, to help save your tooth or an oral surgeon for any necessary surgery. To find a dental office near you, visit our locations page.