A tooth abscess is an infection that often requires a prompt visit to the emergency dentistry office. With the lockdown in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak, dentists have limited dental procedures to emergency treatment. The extent of pain and swelling typically determines if there is a dental emergency. However, if the abscessed tooth is…
Ask an Emergency Dentist: What Is an Abscessed Tooth?
If you have an abscessed tooth, then a visit to an emergency dentist is important for you. An abscessed tooth is caused by a bacterial infection that causes a pocket of pus to form in different parts of the tooth. This can lead to medium to strong pain that can radiate from the ear to the neck in severe cases. It is important to get immediate care for an abscessed tooth.
Symptoms of an abscessed tooth
Patients who do not get an abscessed tooth treated can face a life-threatening condition. There are three main types of abscessed teeth:
- Periapical abscess: this type of abscess forms at the very tip of the root of the tooth
- Periodontal abscess: this type of abscess happens on the gums near the root of the tooth. It is in danger of spreading to the surrounding bone and other tissues
- Gingival abscess: in this form of abscess, the infection happens near the gums
The main symptom of an abscessed tooth is throbbing pain. This can come on suddenly and the pain will only get worse over time. This pain can feel like it is radiating to the jaw, ear or neck. The pain can also get worse when the patient lies down and is especially bad when eating or chewing. The teeth can be very sensitive and may feel loose.
Because the pain is caused by a bacterial infection, patients may get infection-related symptoms. Patients may experience fevers, swollen lymph nodes, a bad taste in the mouth or swollen, red gums.
Treatment from an emergency dentist
The treatment for a tooth abscess works to make the infection go away and relieve pain for the patients. The emergency dentist may use an X-ray to examine the mouth, which can help the dentist to tell if the infection has spread to other parts of the mouth. The emergency dentist may drain the abscess by cutting into it. This can safely drain the pus from the area and allow the emergency dentist to remove all of the bacteria from the tooth. The dentist can then clean the area with a solution of saline, which can quickly kill the bacteria.
If the tooth is too damaged, the emergency dentist might need to remove it before draining out the infection. The dentist will numb the area first so that there is not too much pain for the patient. Oral antibiotics are another way that the dentist can help the patient fight the infection. This may be necessary if the patient has a weakened immune system.
Visit an emergency dentist
It is important for you to get an abscessed tooth treated as soon as possible. If you do not treat it, the bacteria can spread to other parts of your body and cause a life-threatening condition. An emergency dentist can treat an abscess by draining the infection out of the area. A patient may also receive antibiotics to help kill the bacteria.
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