When tissues in the mouth are injured or get irritated, bacteria may get into the area and cause an infection and a painful, pus-filled swelling. If the pus can’t drain, the area will get more swollen and painful. This is known as an tooth abscess or abscess tooth. An abscess is your body’s attempt to contain an infection and prevent it from spreading to other areas. Abscesses can form very quickly, often within 24 to 48 hours of when the infection starts and usually gum and dental abscesses require urgent dental care.
What are Gum and Tooth Abscesses?
A gum, or periodontal, abscess is usually caused by an infection in the small space, or pocket, between the teeth and gums. This may happen when food particles get trapped between the gum and tooth. In more advanced cases of periodontal disease, bacteria can build up in deep pockets under the surface of the gums.
A tooth-related abscess, called a periapical abscess (located at the tip of the tooth root), occurs within the tooth itself when the nerve is dead or dying. This type of abscess can spread to the bone surrounding the tip of the root and require immediate dental care. Most abscess teeth are preceded with severe pain and toothache, which means that people usually look for same day emergency dental clinics to get treatment right away.
In some cases, however, the infection causes little or no pain — or people ignore the discomfort and wait for it to go away. This can result in a chronic abscess, in which the infection lasts for months or even years.
What are the Causes of Dental Abscess?
Here is the list what causes mouth abscess:
- Untreated dental decay or cavities
- Gum disease (periodontal disease)
- Trauma to the tooth, such as a chip or fracture
- Poor dental hygiene leading to bacterial buildup
- Failed root canal treatment
- Impacted wisdom teeth
- Weakened immune system
- Chronic dry mouth
- Poor nutrition and dietary habits
- Smoking or tobacco use
What Happens When You Don’t Treat Dental Abscesses?
The infection can damage nearby tissues or teeth when abscesses aren’t treated promptly. The build-up of scar tissue caused by the infection may result in the development of a hollow tunnel of tissue called a fistula or “sinus tract.”
Pus from the abscess may drain through this “artificial” tunnel to an opening on the surface, and may be seen in the mouth as a pimple that comes and goes. People with sinus tracts may feel a small bump in their mouths or may have a strange taste in their mouths due to the drainage of pus.
A chronic abscess can sometimes form a cyst in the bone. The cyst has to be removed surgically. There also are rare instances in which the infection spreads to the surrounding tissues and causes serious health problems.
How to Prevent Dental Abscesses?
Preventing dental abscesses primarily involves maintaining good oral hygiene practices and seeking timely dental care. Here are some preventive measures individuals can take:
- Practice regular and thorough brushing and flossing to remove plaque and food particles.
- Visit the dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings.
- Address dental issues promptly, such as cavities or gum disease, to prevent them from progressing to abscesses.
- Avoid smoking or tobacco use, as it can increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
- Maintain a balanced diet rich in nutrients to support overall oral health.
- Use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent decay.
- Wear mouthguards during sports or activities that could result in dental trauma.
How will Sunnyvale Dentist Dr. Bhawna Gupta DDS Treat Your Abscesses?
At Sunnyvale Dental Care office our goal is to discover any teeth or gum abscess as early as possible to prevent tooth loss. Superficial abscesses in the gums usually can be treated by cleaning out the debris or bacteria that has become trapped and washing out the area thoroughly.
- Dr. Gupta will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums to pinpoint the source of the abscess and assess its stage (gum abscess or tooth abscess).
- X-rays and other diagnostic tools may be used to determine the extent of the infection and any underlying damage.
Tooth Abscess Treatment Options
Incision and Drainage
This is the most common treatment for both gum and tooth abscesses. Dr. Bhawna Gupta DDS will make a small incision to drain the pus and relieve pressure. The area will be cleaned and disinfected, and antibiotics may be prescribed to combat the infection.
If the abscess originates from a tooth infection, a root canal may be necessary. This procedure involves removing the infected pulp and nerve tissue from the tooth’s interior, followed by cleaning and sealing the canals.
In severe cases where the tooth is beyond repair or poses a significant risk, extraction may be the best option. Dr. Bhawna Gupta DDS will carefully remove the affected tooth and guide pain management and post-extraction care.
Dr. Bhawna Gupta DDS will prescribe pain medication to manage discomfort during and after treatment.
Antibiotics will be prescribed to fight the infection, typically taken for a short course.
Oral Hygiene Instructions
Sunnyvale emergency dentist Dr. Bhawna Gupta DDS will provide thorough instructions on maintaining good oral hygiene to prevent future abscesses. This includes regular brushing, flossing, and tongue cleaning.
Also Learn About
First, try to stick the tooth back in place and hold it there while you rush to see the dentist. If that’s impossible, put the tooth in a container of milk (or water if milk is not available) and take it and the patient to the dentist immediately. Read more about Knocked out teeth.
To avoid further aggravating the damaged tooth, place a piece of soft wax into the area of the tooth that was chipped. You should eat only soft foods and try to avoid food and drink that are hot and cold to the touch.
If you find that your jaw hurts when it is moved or if you cannot close your mouth in a normal fashion, it is likely that you have fractured your jaw. Seek professional medical help at a hospital emergency room. The hospital will be able to treat your injury as well as advise you whether you need to make an appointment to see your dentist.
Biting or lacerating your tongue may cause inflammation and possible bleeding. Use ice or pressure to control the swelling or bleeding. Any swelling should subside within twenty-four hours. Contact your Dentist if the pain persists or the laceration is deep. Read more about bitten tongue or lip.
Slight bleeding after an extraction is normal. A clot will usually form within one hour. If bleeding continues, place a thick gauze pad over the extraction site. Apply pressure to the area to control the flow of blood. If bleeding still persists, you may try soaking a tea bag in water, placing it inside a thin gauze pad, and apply pressure for one hour. The tea leaves contain minerals which may aid in the clotting procedure.
Canker sores are those very small and painful sores which occur inside the mouth. They can be caused by stress, biting the inside of the mouth or by a reaction to certain foods. If you find that you have developed a canker sore on the inside of the mouth, apply an over-the-counter medicine like Orajel or Campho-Phenique. This will produce a bandage-like film over the sore. Read more about Dental Abscesses.
An aching tooth is a very common dental emergency. A toothache is often a sign of infection in or around a tooth. Tylenol or aspirin can sometimes be effective in comforting pain. If there is a hole in the tooth, you may place Oil of Cloves on a small cotton pellet and place it in the site to relieve pain.