What is a Dental Abscess?

When the internal areas of your mouth get injured, infections may occur due to bacterial invasion. It is common to notice painful inflammation containing pus (thick, pale yellow fluid). If the discharge remains undrained, it may cause discomfort and swelling, termed a dental abscess.

The abscess creates a shield to close the infection, which is your body’s way of limiting the spread of bacterial infection. Abscesses develop fast, but sometimes it may take a day or two after initial infection.

Types of Dental Abscesses

Tooth-related abscess (also periapical abscess) is used to describe an ulcer inside the tooth. These ulcers occur when the nerves in the tooth die or start dying. This abscess typically develops at the base of the tooth root before the surrounding bone becomes affected.

Gum abscess or periodontal abscess occurs due to an infection in the gap between the gum and the tooth. The infection is primarily caused by the accumulation of food debris between the tooth and the gum. In chronic cases, the bacteria can accumulate beneath the gum and inside the bone.

What Happens When You Have Dental Abscess?

In most cases, abscesses can cause significant discomfort and therefore requires immediate treatment. Sometimes the pain is mild or inexistent. If neglected, the infection may continue for months or even years. The condition will not heal automatically, which means you should not ignore the signs.

Failure to treat the infection may result in severe complications such as damage to the surrounding teeth and bone. Your body may attempt to develop a drainage hole called fistula or “sinus tract” in the bone and skin to remove the pus. The opening is sometimes noticeable in the mouth with a pimple-like appearance. When this happens, you may perceive an odd taste in your mouth.

Pressure buildup is responsible for abscess pain. The sinus tract decreases that pressure by emptying the abscess. This may cause the pain to disappear, but the infection still needs medical attention.

In some cases, failing to treat the abscess on time can cause the formation of a cyst (fluid-filled sac) in the jawbone. If the tooth has suffered extreme damages and needed a replacement, the cyst may leave during tooth extraction. If it is possible to save the tooth, a root canal treatment may be necessary to get rid of the infected nerve.

After exhausting those options, dental surgery may be necessary to remove the cyst. In rare situations, the abscess-causing infection may develop into severe health complications.

What You Can Do

Dental Abscess is a serious condition because it can potentially lead to other health issues. If you observe any signs, you should notify your dentist immediately.

If you notice a pimple-like swelling, wash your mouth with salt-water mixture multiple times daily. Pour half teaspoonful of salt into 8 ounces of water. This may drain the pus and reduce pressure.

Even if that relieves the pain, you still need to book an appointment with a dental professional immediately.

After the treatment, the doctor may prescribe painkillers and antibiotics to help with the pain and stop infection.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with iSmile Dental Care, request an appointment in our Union dental office here: https://ismiledentalcarenj.com. Or call us at (908) 768-3057.

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