A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that forms around the root of an infected tooth. Anyone can get a tooth abscess. If you have one, you need to get it treated by a dentist or a specialist who can save your tooth called an endodontist. Left untreated, the infection can spread from your jaw to your neck, head, and other body parts.

What Causes Tooth Abscess?

The outside of the tooth is hard, while the inside is filled with a pulp made of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. Sometimes, it can get infected because of a cracked tooth, tooth decay, deep cavity, or gum disease. If left untreated, the infection can kill the pulp, leading to an abscess, which has two common types: a periapical abscess that forms at the top of the tooth root, and a periodontal abscess that affects the bone next to the tooth.

It is possible to get more than one abscess. One abscess can travel through the bone and manifest in several spots, but it is only related to one tooth. You will likely get these issues if you do not brush your teeth regularly and your diet contains lots of sugar. Sugary food and beverages help bacteria grow, which can lead to cavities and other health problems.

What are the Symptoms of Tooth Abscess?

There are cases that the area surrounding the tooth hurts, but not always. When this happens, it is usually a sharp and throbbing pain that gets worse when you put pressure on the affected tooth. This can spread to your jaw and other parts of the face on the affected side. You can experience swelling, bad taste, fever, gum redness, breathing, and swallowing issues, swollen lymph nodes, puffy gums, and hot and cold sensitivity. You might also notice a bad odor when chewing with the affected tooth.

There are times when an abscess causes a bump on the gum that looks like a pimple. If you press sit and pus comes out of it, this is a sure sign that you have an abscessed tooth. Immediately go to the emergency room if you have to swell on your face, have trouble swallowing and breathing, and have a fever. The infection might have already spread to the other parts of your body.

How is Abscessed Tooth Treated?

• Antibiotics. This will not cure the abscess, but this can help manage the infection if it has spread past the site of the abscess to your jaw to other parts of your body.
• Extraction. If your dentist cannot save the tooth, they will have to take it out.
• Root canal therapy. In this procedure, the dentist will drill through your tooth to clean the pulp inside it and the root canals that go down to the gums. After filling and sealing the empty spaces, you will get a crown or filling. This is perhaps the best way to save the tooth. The restored tooth will look and work just the same.
• Surgery. This might be needed to drain a periodontal abscess. Remember even if an abscess ruptures and the pain has eased, you will still have to get treatment from a dentist or endodontist.

How Can Abscessed Tooth be Prevented?

• Regularly get dental checkups and professional teeth cleanings
• Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste
• Floss daily to thoroughly clean hard to reach areas between your teeth and gums
• See your dentist as soon as you have a cracked or loose tooth
• Limit your intake of sugary food and beverages. A diet high in sugar can lead to cavities that can cause a tooth abscess
• Cut down on snacking in between meals

If you think you have a tooth abscess, schedule a consultation with your dentist immediately. Just like most diseases, if it is detected early and acted on promptly, there is a high chance that it will be thoroughly treated and you will regain your beautiful healthy smile once again.

Author's Bio: 

Ryan Daniel is a professional Dentist in Castle Hills of Lewisville, The Colony, Tx and genuinely cares about the health and well-being of teeth and gums. Visit my website: D. Dental