Dental Abscesses

What Are They?

An abscess is a pocket of pus that accumulates around the teeth and gums from bacteria usually found in plaque. As we eat, the bacteria from our foods will cling to our teeth and begin building plaque. Without proper hygiene, such as brushing twice a day and flossing, the risk of an abscess is higher.

They can be found around the tooth but can spread into the cheek, underneath the tongue, throat, and even to the jaw/facial bones. In rare instances, they can block airways causing breathing difficulty.

There are different types of tooth abscess:

  1. Periapical – This form of abscess is found at the tip of the root.
  2. Periodontal – This form occurs around the side of the tooth in the gums.
  3. Gingival – This is only found in the gums.

How Do I Know If I Have One?

The most clear and obvious sign that you have a dental abscess is the pain in your mouth. The symptoms can extend beyond the mouth, though. Some symptoms include:

  • Pain in mouth
  • Swelling in and around the mouth
  • Redness
  • Fever-like symptoms
  • Insomnia

When To See a Dentist

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms due to tooth abscess, come visit us as soon as you are able. (Book an appointment here)

Depending on the severity of the situation, options include:

  • Draining the abscess – A dentist will make an incision in the tooth to drain the pus and clean the area with saline.
  • Root canal – Similar to draining the abscess. Here, the doctor will drill into the infected tooth, then remove the pus and replace the tooth with a crown – usually in a separate appointment.
  • A tooth extraction – If the tooth is too damaged, your dentist will remove the tooth altogether. Then they will drain the abscess.
  • Antibiotics – If the abscess starts to meddle outside the infected area, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to help rid of the infection.

If you cannot get to your dentist or doctor right away, over-the-counter medication such as Advil, or Ibuprofen will do the trick to temporarily relieve the pain. You can also contact us if you have any further questions!