Dental pain is an extremely common problem, affecting most people at least once a year during their lifetime. One of the main problems with dental pain is that it can manifest in many different ways. Whether a chronic dull ache or acute flashes of searing sharpness. many people state that they find dental pain one of the worst types of discomfort to suffer from.
There can be many causes of dental pain, and among the most commonly cited is an abscessed tooth.
What is an abscessed tooth?
An abscess is characterized as a collection of pus that has accumulated within the tissue of the body, most often as a result of a bacterial infection. Abscesses can occur in any part of the body, causing swelling, pain and a range of other unpleasant symptoms. Abscesses in the teeth can occur in several regions:
- Periapical abscesses occur at the tip of the root
- Periodontal abscesses occur in the gums next to the root of the tooth
- Gingival abscesses occur on the surface of the tissue at the gum line of the teeth
Although some bodily abscesses resolve themselves, in the cases of an abscessed tooth, the intervention of a dental professional is almost certainly required. This is because the mouth – a warm, moist environment – is a haven for bacteria to breed, and antibiotics will be necessary to ensure that the bacteria causing the infection are completely eradicated. It is also important to get a potential abscess checked to prevent the spread of infection to other parts of the body.
Symptoms of an abscessed tooth
While an abscessed tooth often causes pain and discomfort, there are instances where they are not painful. However, they should still be checked out by your dental professional.
Other common symptoms of an abscessed tooth include:
- Pain that spreads to your ear, jaw and neck on the same side as the abscessed tooth/gum
- Pain that gets worse when you lay flat
- Pain that disturbs your sleep
- Sensitivity to hot/cold food and/or drink
- Red, swollen or bleeding gums
- Redness and swelling in your face on the same side as the affected tooth
- A tooth that seems loose, particularly sore or discolored
- Bad breath
- A foul taste in your mouth
As the infection gets worse, you may also experience trouble opening and closing your mouth, difficulty swallowing and develop a fever. If you have any of these symptoms, you should seek the advice of our dentist immediately.
Seeking treatment for an abscessed tooth
Regardless of the level of pain you experience, if you believe that you have an abscessed tooth then you should seek the advice of our dentist as soon as possible. The infections associated with an abscessed tooth can spread extremely quickly, particularly if you are already unwell or your have a compromised immune system.
Gum abscess treatment is relatively straightforward and begins by draining the pus and removing the source of the infection. Our dentist can then thoroughly clean the affected area and prescribe a course of antibiotics to completely clear the infection. In the case of periapical abscesses, root canal therapy will be needed to clear the infection, and this is performed under local anesthetic, so you should not be in any discomfort. Our dentist will be happy to explain the process to you in greater detail.
If you are concerned that you may be suffering from an abscessed tooth, don’t delay and risk the infection and symptoms becoming much worse. Instead, contact and seek the advice of our dental professional as soon as possible.