What Is an Abscessed Tooth?
A tooth abscess is a serious dental infection involving the inner pulp chamber and root or root tip of a damaged or diseased tooth. If a mouth abscess isn’t treated properly, it can have devastating consequences on your oral and general health.
What Causes an Abscessed Tooth?
A dental abscess often occurs when a tooth’s pulp dies due to decay or injury. Bacteria grows in the dead tissue and spreads to the root. Once it reaches the tissue below, a pocket of pus forms. An abscess tooth infection may be related to gum disease and periodontal pockets that have formed between the teeth and gums. If left untreated, the expanding infection will cause your jawbone to deteriorate; while this may bring some temporary pain relief, it will also cause loosening of the tooth and eventual tooth loss.
Abscessed Tooth Symptoms
If you have an abscessed tooth, it’s important to seek professional dental care promptly to prevent complications. Symptoms of a tooth abscess typically include the following:
- Severe, intense and persistent tooth pain
- A sensation of pressure around the affected tooth
- Red or swollen gums
- Jaw or facial swelling
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth
- A general feeling of being unwell
How to Treat an Abscessed Tooth
Abscessed tooth treatment may involve several steps. If extraction is required, your dentist will prescribe antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria in your dental abscess first; this will prevent the rapid spread of infection upon extraction. In some cases, an abscessed tooth can be saved through root canal therapy. Your dentist can also drill a hole into the tooth to drain the infection and remove the pulp tissue.
Abscess Tooth Pain Relief
A tooth abscess often causes severe and unrelenting pain. Your dentist can relieve pressure-related pain by opening and draining the abscess. Removal or treatment of the infected tooth will permanently eliminate the symptoms, but over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medications can help to relieve abscess tooth pain while your infection is being treated with antibiotics. An ice pack applied to the cheek may also be helpful. Call us to obtain more information about managing the symptoms of a tooth abscess in Northern Virginia.
An abscess can also occur in gum tissue and not directly involve a tooth. An abscess gum will appear as a swelling or boil on the surface of gum tissue. This type of abscess can also be very painful and may rupture on its own. If not treated, the infection can spread to adjacent tissues such as the sinuses and cause more serious problems.
There’s no need to suffer with the pain of an infected tooth. Our dentists can provide relief from your painful dental abscess symptoms and preserve your tooth if possible. Contact us today for more information about treating a tooth abscess in Northern Virginia.