An abscessed tooth is an infection at the root of the tooth, in the pulp (or soft center) of the tooth. The infection can spread to the bones supporting tooth structure, as well. A variety of factors that can cause an abscessed tooth. Some include: untreated cavities, gum disease, and poor oral health. Abscessed teeth are painful and must be treated by a dentist to ensure the infection is stopped.
Symptoms of Abscessed Tooth
A sign of an abscessed tooth is a very painful toothache, with aching, sharp, shooting pain. In addition, you may experience fever, mouth sensitivity to temperature, red gums, swollen neck glands or face, and sensitivity biting or chewing. The pain from the infection may subside if the pulp has died, however the infection is still in your mouth. The infection will not go away without treatment so it is important to notice the symptoms.
If the tooth is not treated soon, infection can spread to the other teeth and jaw bones, causing major damage. In rare cases the infection spreads to other parts of the body and causes serious health problems.
The infection must be removed from the tooth, usually by draining. If a fistula (pimple-like opening in the gums that allows drainage from the infection) has not formed. There are a few methods dentists use. First, your dentist may drill a hole into the tooth and drain it, and later perform a root canal and finish with a filling or crown. Second, if your tooth is badly damaged, you may need it removed completely. As a result, this opens the socket where the tooth was and allows drainage. Finally, in some cases, your dentist may create an incision into the swollen gum tissue to allow the infection to drain.
Your dentist may prescribe a prescription for antibiotics and painkillers to keep your mouth healthy and pain free.
The best way to prevent a tooth abscess is by practicing great oral hygiene and regularly visiting the dentist. Using an antiseptic mouthwash and regular flossing can help, in addition to daily brushing.