Table of Contents
What is Dental abscess (Definition)
Dental abscess is the accumulation of pus (infected material) in a tooth or gum. There are two types of dental abscesses:
Pulp abscess (storage of blood and nerves inside the tooth)
Abscess between the tooth and the gum
Dental abscess Causes
A dental abscess is caused by bacteria. It originates when bacteria invade and infect a tooth. This produces an accumulation of pus. When the pus can not be drained, an abscess forms.
Conditions that allow bacteria to invade a tooth:
- Severe dental caries
- Rupture or crack in a tooth that allows the bacteria to invade the pulp
Food or other foreign material that is trapped between the tooth and the gum can cause a bacterial infection in the area around the tooth.
Dental abscess Risk factors
These factors increase the likelihood of developing a dental abscess. Tell the dentist if you have any of these risk factors:
- Accumulation of tartar below the gum line
- Inadequate fluoride application in the teeth, using fluoridated water, toothpaste or mouth rinses
- Poor dental hygiene (which causes tooth decay and periodontal diseases)
- Malnutrition, including severe deficiencies of vitamins and minerals
Dental abscess Symptoms
If you have any of these symptoms, do not consider it to be due to a dental abscess. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell the dentist if you have any of these symptoms:
- Throbbing and persistent pain in a tooth or in the area of the gum
- Pain in the teeth when biting
- Spontaneous tooth pain
- Redness, tenderness and swelling of the gums
- Swollen cervical lymph nodes
- Tooth discoloration
- Bad breath or unpleasant taste in the mouth
Open sore and oozing in the gums
If left untreated, the complications of a dental abscess may include:
- Loss of tooth and surrounding tissues or bones
- Spread of infection to surrounding tissues or bones
Dental abscess Diagnosis
The dentist will interrogate you about the symptoms and medical history, and perform a detailed examination of the teeth and gums.
The dentist will check the tooth to measure pain and sensitivity by:
- Light blow of the tooth
- Stimulation of the dental nerve with heat or cold
- Stimulation of the dental nerve with slight electrical impulses
- Placement of a probe between the tooth and the gum to measure gaps or loss of tissue
The dentist will also take an x-ray of the tooth and the surrounding bone.
Dental abscess Treatment
Removal of the abscess through endodontics
If the abscess comes from decay or rupture in the tooth:
- The tooth and the surrounding tissue is numbed, and a hole is made through the top of the tooth.
- Pus and dead tissue is removed from the center of the tooth.
- The inside of the tooth and the root canals (nerve) are cleaned and filled with filling.
- A crown is placed on the tooth to protect it.
If the abscess is due to an infection between the tooth and the gum:
- The abscess is drained and cleaned carefully.
- The surface of the tooth root is cleaned and smoothed.
- In some cases, surgery is required to reshape the gum and prevent the recurrence of infections.
It may be necessary to remove the tooth if:
- Tooth decay and / or dental infection is too extensive to fill or do endodontics.
- The rupture or crack of the tooth is very serious to be repaired.
- The infection or loss of tissue or bone between the tooth and the gum is serious.
- If the tooth is extracted, it will be replaced with:
- Partial bridge
- Dental prostheses
- Dental implant
Dental abscess Medicines
Antibiotics to attack residual infection in the teeth or gums
Over-the-counter pain medications (ibuprofen or paracetamol) and mouth rinses with warm salt water
Dental abscess Prevention
To reduce the chance of having a tooth abscess, take the following steps:
Appropriate dental hygiene, including:
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after meals or at least twice a day
- Flossing daily between teeth and gums ·
- Undergo regular dental check-ups (every six months)
- Undergo a professional cleaning of teeth and gums periodically (every six months)