A dental abscess is a serious bacterial infection. It is marked by a pus-filled area around a tooth and accompanied by extreme pain. If you are experiencing a dental emergency like this, contact Bethesda Family Dentistry in Bethesda, MD, to be seen right away. A dental abscess requires professional care. Without immediate treatment, serious complications are likely and can threaten both oral health and overall well-being.
Dental Abscess Symptoms
The symptoms of a dental abscess are obvious, which is fortunate because this dental emergency requires immediate attention. Save yourself from serious complications and contact your Bethesda dentist immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Pus-filled area under the gumline
- Severe throbbing toothache
- Swollen gums
- Warm, tender gums
- Sensitivity to temperature
- Red gums
- Bad breath
- Fever or chills
Some of the signs of a dental abscess can mimic other oral health problems, but a large, painful bump and pain are indications that an abscess is likely. Do not attempt to pop the abscess yourself – this will fill your mouth and systems with bacteria. The only safe choice is to see your dentist quickly and get treatment right away.
What Causes a Dental Abscess
If a tooth is infected deep in the pulp, the tooth root will eventually suffer. Sometimes, this problem is corrected with root canal therapy or even a tooth-colored filling, but if the window for correcting the problem as it begins is missed, the infection will become severe and develop an abscess and bacteria will multiple.
There are several possible causes of a dental abscess, including:
- Untreated tooth decay
- Mouth injury turning into a bacterial infection
- Deteriorating dental work
- Unwanted particles entering a tooth
Above all, know that a dental abscess will not get better on its own. You may read that a popped abscess relieves pain, and it often does, but it creates a new problem of an overflow of bacteria in the body. An experienced dentist is needed to diagnose and correct the problem. Once the abscess is drained, the tooth it is associated with still needs to be repaired, and your dentist needs to ensure that your jaw, neck, head, and body are safe from infection and life-threatening consequences.
Treatment of a Dental Abscess
A dentist’s initial goals in the face of an abscess are to stop the pain and prevent the problem from spreading. Once the immediate threat has been managed, the severity of the problem is assessed and treatment protocol continues. Here are some of the measures to expect:
- Draining of the abscess: The abscess is drained carefully and meticulously to prevent the spread of bacteria.
- Antibiotics: An abscess is an infection and even though the pus-filled bump may have been eliminated, it’s still necessary to fight infection from spreading elsewhere in the body.
- Root canal therapy: Even if you didn’t want to get a root canal before the abscess developed, you’ll have to get it done now to make sure the infected tooth is fully cleaned out and filled. The tooth is then capped with a porcelain crown.
- Tooth-colored filling: If an abscess is small and the result of minor tooth decay, a tooth-colored filling may be the only repair needed to correct the problem.
- Tooth extraction: If a tooth is extremely compromised and cannot be fully restored with a dental repair, tooth extraction may be necessary to preserve oral health.
If you suspect that you might have a dental abscess, or if you are experiencing any sort of tooth pain, contact Bethesda Family Dentistry immediately for emergency dental care. Problems like this cannot wait without causing further complications. Allow us to help you right away and relieve your pain.