Dental abscess – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

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What is Dental abscess?

A dental abscess is a collection of pus that can form inside the teeth, the gums or the bone that holds the teeth in place. A bacterial infection causes it.

An abscess at the top of a tooth is called a periapical abscess. An abscess within the gum is known as a periodontal abscess.

Dental abscesses can be painful in some cases. In such cases, they ought to be looked at by a dentist.

Getting help as soon as possible is essential because abscesses don’t go away on their own. They will sometimes spread to other body parts and make a person sick.

What causes dental abscesses?

When the mouth is filled with bacteria, it forms a sticky film on the teeth. This substance is called plaque. If we do not keep our teeth clean, acids produced by the bacteria can cause oral damage leading to tooth decay and gum disease.

What are the risk factors for developing a dental abscess? 

  • Poor oral hygiene. Plaque buildup can happen on our teeth if we do not floss and brush our teeth regularly.
  • Consuming plenty of sugar or eating starchy food and drink can encourage the growth of bacteria and lead to tooth decay.
  • Injury or surgery to your teeth or gums can pave the way for bacteria to enter any damaged parts of the teeth to cause further complications.

What are the symptoms of a dental abscess?

Some of the most commonly exhibited symptoms of a dental abscess include:

  • An intense, throbbing pain within the infected tooth and gum can appear suddenly and gradually worsens.
  • Sharp pain that spreads to the ear and neck
  • Pain when lying down, which causes sleep disturbance.
  • Redness and swelling in your face
  • Discoloured tooth
  • Tooth loss
  • Swollen and discoloured gums
  • Sensitivity to food and drinks that are hot or cold
  • Bad breath  
  • Unpleasant taste  
  • If the infection spreads, you’ll also develop a high temperature and feel unwell.  
  • In severe cases, you’ll find it hard to swallow food and breathe fully.

How to treat dental abscesses?

 A visit to the dentist is advised when a person has a dental abscess. Avoid visiting a general physician, as they offer little help.

Relieving your symptoms

While you’re waiting to seek the help of a dentist, medications or painkillers can help manage the pain.

Ibuprofen is a commonly prescribed painkiller for dental abscesses. If a person cannot consume it for medical reasons, they taking paracetamol instead is advisable. Taking Aspirin should be restricted.

If a single painkiller doesn’t relieve tooth or gum pain, taking both paracetamol and ibuprofen at prescribed doses can help. However, all medications must be consumed under medical supervision.

Treating dental abscesses naturally.

  • Restrict consumption of hot or cold food if it makes aggravates the pain.
  • It is advised to eat cool and soft foods. Chewing food on the other side of the mouth can be helpful.
  • Try using a soft toothbrush and avoid flossing the affected teeth.
  • The above-mentioned measures can help a person relieve their symptoms for a while. Temporary relief should not stop a person from getting the help of a dentist.

What are the treatments for dental abscesses?

A dental abscess is treated by removing the primary cause of the infection and clearing away the pus that can cause the infection.

Depending on how severe the infection is, some of the treatments include:

  • Removing the affected tooth (extraction).
  • Root canal treatment is a dental procedure done to remove an abscess from an affected tooth.   
  • Incision and drainage – where a little incision is made in the gum to flush out the abscess. A local anaesthetic will usually numb your mouth for these procedures.
  • Antibiotics are prescribed if the infection spreads quickly or is severe.

How to prevent dental abscesses?

Anyone can reduce their risk of developing dental abscesses by maintaining proper oral hygiene.

To maintain proper oral hygiene, one should

  • Use a floss or a soft brush to clean between their teeth and their gums.
  • Brush teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day.  
  • Restrict rinsing the mouth with water or a good mouthwash after brushing as it washes the remaining toothpaste away.  
  • Eliminate sugar and starchy food.

To sum up 

A dental abscess may be a collection of pus that can form inside the teeth, the gums or the bone that holds the teeth in place. A bacterial infection causes it. Dental abscesses can be painful in some cases. In such cases, they ought to be looked at by a dentist.

Anyone can reduce their risk of developing dental abscesses by maintaining proper oral hygiene.  

A dental abscess is treated by removing the primary cause of the infection and clearing away the pus that can cause the infection.

FAQs

Can dental abscess heal on its own?  

Dental treatment is required for dental abscesses. Without medical assistance, it won’t cure on its own.

How do you treat dental abscesses?  

A dental abscess is treated by a dentist. A dentist will identify the source of the infection to treat it accordingly. They will drain away the pus, which can cause infection.

Is dental abscess an emergency?

When the symptoms of a dental abscess are severe and cause evident symptoms like swelling, it requires proper medical treatment to avoid further complications.


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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