Dental Abscess Fast Facts
- Abscesses are often caused by poor dental hygiene and high sugar intake.
- If left untreated abscesses can affect much more than just your oral health.
- Abscesses can be prevented by having a proper oral healthcare routine as well as a balanced (you can still eat sugar, just make sure you’re that’s not all you eat) nutritional diet.
What Is A Dental Abscess?
A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that is caused by a bacterial infection. An abscessed tooth can cause moderate to severe oral or facial pain. This pain can sometimes be felt by your ear or neck.
Different Types Of Dental Abscesses
- Periapical abscess: This is an abscess at the tip of a tooth’s root.
- Periodontal abscess: This is an abscess on the gum next to the root of a tooth. It might also spread to the surrounding tissue and bone.
Who Is Most At Risk For Tooth Infections?
- Smokers – Smokers are significantly more likely than non-smokers to have tooth infections.
- People affected by dry mouth – Saliva can help protect against infection, hydration is important!
- Those who practice poor dental hygiene – Brushing, flossing, and regular checkups greatly reduce bacterial buildup.
- Anyone with a weakened immune system – Diseases or medications can lower your immune response, making it harder to fight off germs.
What Causes A Tooth Abscess?
- Severe tooth decay – Tooth decay is the breakdown of the hard surfaces on your tooth. Decay happens when bacteria digest sugars in your food and drink, this creates acid that will attack your enamel.
- Broken, chipped or cracked teeth – Any opening may allow bacteria to enter the tooth which will eventually attack the pulp.
- Gum disease (periodontitis): This is an infection and inflammation which occurs in the tissues around the teeth. As periodontitis progresses, the bacteria attack to deeper tissues.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Tooth Infection?
- Gnawing or throbbing.
- Sharp or shooting.
- Continuous or only when chewing.
- Radiating to the jawbone, neck or ear.
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Other oral symptoms of infection include:
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.
- Bitter taste in the mouth.
- Foul-smelling breath.
- Gum redness and swelling.
- Loosening of the tooth.
- Swollen area in the upper or lower jaw.
- Open, draining sore on the side of the gum.
You may experience more generalized symptoms like:
- Swollen neck glands
- General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling
- Consequences of an abscessed tooth
Wondering what can happen if you don’t talk to a dentist about your abscess? Nothing good, we can tell you that much:
- Fistula – A hollow tunnel formed through the bone and skin.
- Cysts – A fluid-filled bubble in the jaw.
- Sepsis – Your body’s reaction to extreme infection.
If you are experiencing any of these problems you should call our emergency contact line at (587) 410-5766.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Don’t delay: See a dental professional as soon as possible.
- Don’t stop your oral hygiene routine: Continue to brush and floss.
- Don’t be fooled if your dental abscess stops hurting: Pain associated with a dental abscess may go away if the tooth root has died.
- If left untreated, the abscess may spread to your brain or spinal cord. It should be treated immediately, please seek medical attention from a dentist.
It can take 1-2 weeks after treatment, but it depends entirely on the person’s own response to the treatment.
Antibiotics will not cure an abscessed tooth. The best thing to do is always talk to a dentist.
You should avoid the following:
- Hard foods
- Chewey foods
- Sugary foods like candy
- Food or drink that is overly hot, or cold.