An abscess is a localized collection of pus. Dental abscesses can be related to an infection of the pulp (periapical abscess), infection of the gum and tissues surrounding the tooth ( periodontal abscess), or a combination of both. Dental abscesses, if uncontrolled, it can spread to become facial infections.
A periapical abscess is caused by bacteria from plaque infecting the pulp of the tooth.
Bacteria is able to penetrate the pulp through concurrent development of a cavity (decay) or tooth fracture. For example, pain felt on or through the gums and supporting tissues.
Finally, the pulpal infection escalates, extending to the bone surrounding the root tip, thus leading to the formation of an abscess.
-Sensitivity of your teeth and surrounding area, especially when you bite or touch
-Sleep disturbance stemming from acute, resonating pain
-Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, especially food and beverage intake
-Difficulty in opening your mouth (trismus) or swallowing (dysphagia)
The best prevention method is to make regular check up visits with your dentist. This is because decay can be identified and treated before it results in the formation of a periapical abscess.
When to Seek Help(Periapical)
If experiencing intense toothache, see a dentist immediately. If you are experiencing issues in breathing or swallowing, immediately head towards the closest Accident & Emergency department, if you are unable to locate a dentist.
Your dentist will perform dental procedures at once to minimize pain and stop the infection.
The first thing to do is the drainage of pus through an incision into the abscess or removal of the infected tooth, or by drilling a hole into the pulp chamber. Usually, it is performed under local anaesthesia. However, hospitalization is required for more serious infections. A prescription of antibiotics and painkillers will be provided as well.
Once the acute infection has receded and if the tooth is salvageable, an Endodontist will propose the option of saving the tooth with root canal treatment.
-Infection may spread to your facial features
-An infection to the bone caused by bacteria from the abscess spread through your blood stream(Osteomyelitis)
-Cysts can form, surrounding the root tip of a pulpally infected tooth
-Preceding gum disease (periodontitis)
-Bacterial infection from a deep periodontal pocket
-Stress to the gum eg. from food or debris lodged in the gum
-Restricted gum swelling; tenderness and redness to touch
-Constant, resonating pain
-Tooth sensitivity to heat and chewing of food
-Tooth with elevated mobility
-Pus discharge (foul-smelling and foul-tasting fluid) if the abscess ruptures
Practicing good oral hygiene and detal care will help to prevent periodontal disease from occuring and thus the resulting periodontal abscesses. Since periodontal disease is usually more difficult to identify, regular dental check-up is essential for early detection.
When to Seek Help(Periodontal)
If you experience a toothache or have noticed an abscess on your gum, visit your dentist. Even if the abscess drains and the pain decreases, a visit to the dentist for full treatment is critical.
Effective treatment of an abscess targets on the shrinkage and riddance of infection source. Like with the periapical absccess, the procedure includes draining the abscess, which generally eases pain and eliminates much of the infection. Antibiotics will be prescribed as well to aid in the healing process.
The periodontal abscess will not be treated unless the cause is eradicated. A variety of treatments from deep scaling to root planning and gum surgery to treat the gum disease will be utilized by a periodontist. If the pulp has been infected as well, then the tooth will also require the procedure of root canal treatment.