A tooth abscess is caused by a bacterial infection beneath your gums, either alongside your tooth or at the tip of your tooth root, creating a pocket of pus which develops, leading to inflammation of the gum and some intense pain. The abscess is most commonly the result of an untreated cavity, or possibly injury or prior dental treatments. The most common treatment for an abscessed tooth involves draining the pus to get rid of the infection, usually followed by a prescription for antibiotics, to prevent further infection.
What are the symptoms of tooth abscess?
The symptoms of an abscessed tooth include:
- Severe pain – such as an unrelenting, throbbing toothache
- Sensitivity to extreme temperature changes
- Pressure sensitivity – such as pain when chewing or biting
- Swollen cheek near the infected tooth – or swollen lymph nodes in the area
- General fever
- Sudden flow of disgusting fluid in your mouth, combined with pain relief, if the abscess happens to rupture
What are the possible complications of an abscessed tooth?
While it may seem extreme, the pus contained within an abscess is extremely dangerous. It is a virtual poison to your body and, should the infection spread, it can even threaten your life, causing damage to vital organs. If left untreated, a tooth abscess can lead to sepsis, a deadly whole-body infection. For patients with a weakened immune system, such as those with diabetes, your risk of the infection spreading becomes even more pronounced.
What are the best treatments for tooth abscess?
Treatments for this infection range from simply draining the abscess to root canal to removal of the infected tooth. Your dental professional will advise you on the treatment most likely to benefit you. In many cases, your dentist will prescribe antibiotic treatment before draining or surgery, to ensure the infection does not accidentally spread during treatment.
To remove the infection, your dentist may:
- Make an incision in the gum to drain the pus
- Remove the infected tooth
- Perform a root canal on the infected tooth
- Prescribe antibiotics
The infection caused by an abscessed tooth can be extremely painful and is quite dangerous if left untreated. If you believe you may have an abscessed tooth, you should visit your dentist right away. If you dentist is not immediately available, you should visit an emergency care facility.
The doctors and staff at The Colorado Center for Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry are available to help you determine effective solutions to all your dental problems. If you would like more information from your Littleton area Prosthodontist, please call to make an appointment today.