Dental Abscess

If you’re having severe pain in one of your teeth, especially when you chew something with it or when you lie down, chances are that you have an abscessed tooth.

What is an Abscess?

An abscess is a collection of pus which forms around a tooth, the gums or the jaw bone which supports the tooth. An abscessed tooth causes severe pain, swelling and discomfort. However, the good news is that these symptoms will go away almost immediately when you visit us for treatment.

How Does a Tooth Abscess Form?

Our teeth are protected on the outside by a hard covering known as the dental enamel. However, the underlying layers of our teeth, the dentine and pulp are softer, owing to the presence of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. When the outer enamel layer of our teeth gets destroyed, either due to trauma or cavities caused by poor oral hygiene maintenance, the underlying dentine, and pulp layers are exposed to the oral environment. If this situation is not corrected immediately by restoring the tooth with a filling, the pulp gets infected and pus starts to form around the tooth.

What are Different Types of Dental Abscess?

Depending on the location of infection, dental abscesses can be divided into two types:

  • Tooth-related Abscess – this is also known as a periapical abscess, implying that the infection is located around the apex of the tooth root.

  • Gum Abscess – this is also known as a periodontal abscess and appears between a tooth and the gum. This type of abscess occurs as a result of food entrapment, and subsequent inflammation of the gums.

What are the Symptoms Associated with an Abscessed Tooth?

The symptoms associated with an abscessed tooth vary from person to person, and also according to the intensity of the infection. However, some general symptoms of a tooth abscess are:

  • Pain – this is one of the most common signs of a tooth abscess. The pain of an abscessed tooth is severe and sharp, which does not go away even after taking pain-killer medicine. The pain usually worsens on lying down, thereby making it difficult to sleep.

  • Swelling – the affected area, and the associated lymph nodes become swollen due to the underlying infection around the tooth or gum.

  • Difficulty in Chewing – another common symptom of a dental abscess is the pain on chewing. This is because of the underlying infection of the structures surrounding the teeth.

  • Bad Breath – if the underlying cause of the infection is the inflammation of the gums and periodontal tissues, it can lead to the development of bad breath. Sometimes, pus can also be seen oozing out of the gums which also causes bad breath.

How is an Abscess Treated?

When you visit us at Metro Dental for an assessment, Dr. Lyn will first perform a detailed examination of your teeth. She will also look at the x-ray images of the affected tooth to identify the location and intensity of the infection. Once it is confirmed that you have a dental abscess, Dr. Lynn will perform root canal treatment of the affected tooth to remove the infected pulp tissue. She may also prescribe antibiotics to accelerate the healing process.

In some cases, the damage to the tooth is so severe that it cannot be restored or saved. In these cases, Dr. Lynn removes the tooth and replaces it with a suitable prosthesis such as a denture, bridge or an implant-supported prosthesis, once healing of the surgical site has taken place.

A tooth abscess does not heal by itself! If you feel that you have an abscessed tooth, then you should visit us for treatment as soon as possible. Delaying your treatment can result in the spread of infection towards other parts of the body, a situation which may prove to be life-threatening if not treated timely.

Visit us today at Metro Dental and let us relieve your pain and restore your smile and facial esthetics.