4 Things to Know About Tooth Abscesses

Posted on: 11 February 2016

If you are experiencing severe pain and have an odd taste in your mouth, you might be suffering from a tooth abscess. This is a type of tooth infection that requires treatment from your dentist. Here are some things to know about tooth abscesses.

There Are Different Types of Dental Abscesses

You may have one of two types of dental abscesses, which vary based on their location and cause. The first type is the more common one, which is a periapical abscess. This will begin forming due to bacteria lodged underneath the tooth. There is also another abscess that occurs in the bone and gums of the tooth, which is called a periodontal abscess. This is less common but still something to be aware of. Both of these abscesses can be caused by lack of oral hygiene, such as not brushing enough or failing to floss your teeth. You may also get an abscess if you consume a lot of foods and drinks with sugar.

Some Signs Are Subtle

The main sign of a tooth abscess is pain, which can be throbbing or a very subtle pain you don't often notice. The longer you have the abscess, the worse the pain will start to get. In some people, it is barely noticeable, which is why they go a long time before getting treatment. Any time you have a toothache, you should see your dentist, as it may be something like this type of infection. You may also have some swelling on that side of your face, tender lymph nodes, or pus coming from the area with a bad taste.

Dental Abscesses Can't be Treated at Home

A dental abscess is a type of infection that begins as a bacterial infection; therefore, antibiotics are often needed for proper treatment. Do not assume that brushing and flossing your teeth or taking pain relievers will eventually make the infection go away on its own. In fact, by ignoring the problem and just relieving the pain, you are making the situation worse. The pain will start getting worse, and you may develop a pus-filled sore in your mouth or on your gums, experience loss of bone density, and have an infection that starts to spread throughout your mouth.

Extracting the Tooth Might Be Necessary

While the dentist often begins with antibiotics to get to the source of the infection, this isn't enough. Abscesses need to be drained from the tooth, which is done by completing a root canal. If the problem is bad enough, you may also need to have the tooth pulled. This is often necessary in infections of the jawbone of the tooth in question.

For more information about tooth abscesses, contact an experienced dentist in your area.