How do I know if my tooth is abscessed?

Do you have a toothache that just won’t seem to go away, no matter how careful you are with your diet and oral hygiene? There might be a possibility that the pain you are experiencing is not from sensitivity, but rather an infection that has spread down to the root of your tooth. Let’s let look at what a tooth abscess is, as well as treatment options and methods of prevention.

What is a tooth abscess and what are the symptoms?

A tooth abscess is a infection that has been caused by either decay or a crack/chip. Bacteria makes its way through the opening on the tooth’s surface and begins to damage the pulp, which is the innermost part of the tooth where you find nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. At this point, if left untreated, the pulp will be destroyed and the bacteria will travel through the root of the tooth to the tip, which is located in the jawbone. Here the bacteria will form a pocket of pus that will cause massive swelling and inflammation. If it is untreated at this point, the infection can spread through the body and actually cause sepsis, a life-threatening condition (especially for those who already have lowered immune systems).

You might have an abscess if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Facial swelling, particularly in the cheeks
  • An intense toothache that can be felt through the jaw and near the ear
  • Fever associated with other symptoms
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Temperature sensitivity in foods and drinks
  • Gum inflammation
  • Foul taste in mouth

How is a tooth abscess treated?

Draining the abscess is always the first method of treatment, which must be done in our office. Getting rid of the infection is top priority to stop the bacteria from spreading. We will then most likely perform a root canal treatment, where the infected pulp is removed, the interior of the tooth is cleaned and decontaminated, and the canal is then filled with a stable dental compound. In most cases, your original tooth can be saved due to today’s advanced dental technology! At our office, we perform root canal treatments with precision and ease, and it is virtually pain-free.

How can it be prevented?

Prevention rather than treatment is always the ideal scenario, and there are definitely ways to minimize your risk of getting a tooth abscess! Diet and oral hygiene are the main ways that you can protect yourself against infection, as sugar will always lead to decay, and brushing and flossing regularly will remove bacteria before it has a chance to do any damage. Regardless, some situations are unavoidable, such as accidents that lead to chipping or cracking. In this case, it’s necessary to schedule a dental appointment immediately, so that your tooth can be repaired before bacteria can enter in.

If you have a toothache and aren’t sure if the tooth is abscessed, or if your tooth is damaged and needs to be restored, call our office today. We utilize the latest dental technology that ensures your experience with us will be quick and pain-free! Aside from an appointment that requires immediate attention, maintaining regular bi-annual dentist visits is one of the most important ways to guarantee a healthy mouth, as we can examine any issues before they have a chance to cause long-term damage.