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There are two kinds of abscesses: periapical abscess (abscess at the end of a tooth) and periodontal abscess (abscess in the gum).
Dental abscesses are most oftne painful, but aren’t always. In both cases, they should be checked by a dentist.
It’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible because abscesses don’t go away on their own. They can spread to the other parts of your body and make you sick.
Causes of a Dental Abscess
A periapical dental abscess occurs when bacteria infect the dental pulp — the deepest part of the tooth that has blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue.
Bacteria is absorbed through either a dental cavity or a crack in the tooth and spreads down to the root. The infection can cause swelling and inflammation at the tip of the root.
Aside from the visible formation of pus in the mouth, the following are the symptoms of a dental abscess:
- Severe, persistent, throbbing toothache that can spread to the jawbone, neck or ear
- Sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks
- Sensitivity to bite pressure
- Facial swelling
- Tender, swollen lymph nodes below your jaw or in your neck
- Foul-smelling and foul-tasting fluid in your mouth and pain if the abscess ruptures
- Breathing or swallowing difficulties
Types of Dental Abscess
Gingival abscess: The abscess is in the gum tissue and does not affect the tooth or the periodontal ligament.
Periodontal abscess: The abscess is in the supporting bone tissue structures of the teeth.
Periapical abscess: The abscess is in the soft pulp of the tooth.
The type of abscess will determine the severity and location of symptoms.
When to see a doctor
If you have a fever and facial swelling, go to your dentist immediately. These signs may indicate that the infection has spread further into your jaw and surrounding tissue,s or even to other parts of your body.
First Aid and Treatment for Dental Abscess
If you feel something like a pimple on your gums or around your tooth, here’s what you can do:
- Prepare a saltwater solution by dissolving half a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Use this to wash your mouth several times a day.
- Do not put aspirin on the affected area as this can lead to a chemical burn.
- If there is swelling in the face, apply a cold compress on the cheek.
- Visit your Norlane dentist immediately.
A dental abscess is treated by removing the source of the infection and draining away the pus.
Depending on the site of the abscess and the severity of the infection, possible treatments include:
Root Canal Therapy – this procedure removes the abscess from the root of an affected tooth, before filling and sealing it.
Tooth Extraction – this may be required if root canal treatment isn’t possible.
Incision and Drainage – a small cut is made in the gum to drain the abscess.
A local anaesthetic will be administered to numb your mouth for these procedures. More advanced operations may be carried out under general anaesthesia.
Antibiotics aren’t routinely recommended for dental abscesses but may be taken if the infection spreads further or is particularly serious.
Same Day Dental Emergency at Norlane Dental Surgery
Norlane Dental Surgery is your trusted and experienced dentist, providing same-day care for you and your loved ones in Norlane and the surrounding areas.
If you have a dental emergency, contact us immediately so we can treat the problem immediately and prevent further damage or infection.
We are located at 124 Sparks Road in Norlane.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a dental abscess be dangerous?
Are dental abscesses contagious?
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