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What is a dental abscess?
A dental abscess is a bacterial infection in the gums, tooth, or bone around the infected gum. Usually very painful, dental abscesses need to be treated by a dentist as soon as possible as they won’t go away on their own. If left untreated, a dental abscess can severely infect the gums, damage the bone’s integrity, and even spread to other parts of the body and make you ill.
You are probably suffering from a dental abscess if you’re experiencing the following symptoms:
- visible swelling and redness of the gums;
- throbbing pain that comes suddenly and spreads to your ears, neck, and jaw;
- high sensitivity to hot and cold food or drinks;
- swelling and redness of your face;
- unpleasant taste and bad breath.
Treatments for dental abscess
Root canal treatment
Root canal treatment for dental abscess
When the dental abscess is located in the root of the infected tooth, a root canal treatment will be the most suitable solution. Followed by applying anaesthetic to numb the area, your dentist will remove part of the tooth enamel to access the roots and will begin the treatment.
Depending on the severity of your condition you may need a couple of appointments during which your dentist will apply medication to cure the bacterial infection. X-rays may also be needed at your initial appointment to fully asses your condition. Once the infection has been cured and the gums are again healthy, your dentist will apply a permanent filling and close the tooth.
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If the infected tooth is severely damaged or the dental abscess challenging to treat in a particular case, your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction. The removal will help release the collected pus in the dental abscess and offer immediate pain relief.
Although tooth extraction is not the preferred treatment by most dentists, in some cases, it is the best solution to help preserve your overall oral and general health.
Performed by one of our dentists or specialists, highly-specialised in delivering emergency dental treatments, drainage of your dental abscess may be the quickest way to relieve the pain and remove the collected pus. Typically followed by other therapies, draining involves a minimal incision in the gum.
Sedation is always used during this procedure to ensure there’s no sensitivity in the area, and an antiseptic mouth wash is typically required to help cure the infection.
Whether we realise it or not, our mouths are full of bacteria. It creates the plaque around our teeth, which can quickly enter the gums if our oral hygiene is not superb. There are several factors which can cause a dental abscess, but the good news is that in almost all cases we can prevent it.
- Weak immune system
If you have diabetes or another health condition lowering your immune system’s natural strength, you may be prone to worse oral health. In this case, you must have enhanced dental hygiene and regular dental check-ups.
- Injury or previous surgery
Bacteria can enter the gums and jawbones during an injury or a surgery, and develop an abscess after months and sometimes even years. Sadly, this happens out of our control, and the only thing we can do to prevent the bacterial infection is to ensure that we have impeccable oral hygiene.
- Consumption of sugary or starchy food and drink
It is a well-known fact that our diet affects our oral hygiene. Sugar and starch in food and drink create a favourable environment for the development of bacteria and can cause tooth decay and abscess.
- Poor oral hygiene
The root of all dental problems we have, bad oral hygiene, can easily be avoided by creating the habit to brush our teeth at least twice a day and attend regular dental check-ups and hygiene sessions.