Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment for a Tooth Abscess

Some patients who have severe dental anxiety don’t go to the dentist when the first signs of a problem begin, this can eventually result in a tooth abscess.

A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that can form in different parts of a tooth as a result of a bacterial infection. It is sometimes called a dental abscess. There are two types of abscesses, a periapical abscess and a periodontal abscess. A periapical abscess occurs at the tip of the root whereas a periodontal abscess occurs in the gums at the side of a tooth root.

But how can you identify the symptoms of an abscess, what causes them and how can they be treated?

Symptoms of a Tooth Abscess

There are a number of signs and symptoms of a tooth abscess. Some of them include:

  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • Severe and persistent tooth pain which can radiate to the jawbone, neck, or ear
  • Hot and cold sensitivity
  • Swelling in your face or cheek
  • Tender or swollen lymph nodes under your jaw
  • Discolored or loose tooth
  • If the abscess ruptures you could have a sudden rush of foul-smelling or bad tasting fluid in your mouth
  • Fever
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing

If you have any signs and symptoms of a tooth abscess, you should contact your dentist immediately. In addition, if you have a fever and swelling in your face but you can’t reach your dentist, you need to go to the emergency room. A tooth abscess left untreated can lead to serious, even life-threatening complications.

Causes of a Tooth Abscess

The innermost part of the teeth that contains blood vessel, nerves, and connective tissues is the dental pulp. When bacteria invades this area, a periapical tooth abscess occurs.

Bacteria can enter through a dental cavity or a crack or chip in the tooth. It can then spread all the way down to the root. The infection can cause pain, inflammation, and swelling at the tip of the root.

It is not uncommon for patients with special needs to develop an abscess. This may be due to fact that they can’t care for their teeth properly perhaps because of a physical or mental disability. Other patients have severe dental anxiety and they don’t go to the dentist when the first signs of a problem begins.

Treatment for a Tooth Abscess

Treatment for a tooth abscess focuses on treating the infection and relieving the pain. Your dentist will likely start with taking an X-ray, depending on your symptoms. This will help him see whether or not the infection has spread to other areas.

Some of the possible treatment options include:

  • Draining the abscess – To get rid of the pus, your dentist will make a small incision to drain it. Then, they will clean the area with a saline solution.
  • Root canal – A root canal in when your dentist drills into the affected tooth to drain the abscess and remove any infected pulp in the area. Then, your dentist will fill and seal the chamber.
  • Tooth extraction – If the tooth is too damaged, your dentist may have to pull the tooth before draining the abscess.
  • Prescription antibiotics – If the abscess has spread beyond the abscessed area, your dentist may prescribe oral antibiotics to help your tooth heal completely.

Call Us Today

The Only Board Certified Dental Anesthesiologist in Missouri, including the St. Louis Metro Area.

Call (314) 862-7844
Updated: February 2, 2022

Leave a Comment