An abscess around the tooth can arise from various different dental problems, such as unsuccessful surgery, cracked teeth, or generally bad oral hygiene that leads to decay. These issues don’t just affect the tooth itself; they usually become apparent from a type of infected swelling around the gums or jaw line. Abscesses are very painful, and can start out with shooting or stabbing pains in the mouth, either constantly or just when the tooth is touched – even gently. In some more extreme cases, the swelling spreads to the outside of the mouth, causing the jaw, cheeks or glands to become tender. It’s fairly common to feel a large amount of discomfort if you suffer from a tooth abscess, and it’s vital that you head straight to the dentist surgery at the first sign of any problems.
There are two types of abscess that can affect the tooth, the periapical abscess – which is the most common type, due to tooth decay, and the periodontal abscess – which develops from bacteria entering the gums from bad surgery or trauma to the teeth.
Fortunately there are treatments available at the Pearl Dental Clinic to help with this problem.
If the infection has not spread to a severe extent, you may just be given some antibiotics to help fight the bacteria, however, most cases will require surgery to some extent. Drainage is key when fighting abscesses on teeth, it removes the infected fluid that has gathered around the wound, then it can be cleaned and the medication can treat the problem from the inside. An abscess affecting one or more of your teeth could lead to some extractions, but professional surgeons will be on hand to make sure this is not a traumatic process.
Periapical abscesses usually require a root canal treatment, this means drilling into the bad tooth to let the pus drain out, along with any other damaged tissue. Periodontal abscesses around the gums also need to be drained to empty the periodontal pocket and allow it to be cleaned.
Because they are sometimes difficult to treat, abscesses can re-occur, so it’s important to attend follow up appointments with your dentist to assess your recovery. Abscesses can fail to heal properly in some cases, due mainly to issues arising from the initial occurrence. If you have been for treatment but feel your teeth are still causing you pain, the clinic can provide you with surgery to solve the problem – usually by removing the abscess or filling the root tips of difficult teeth.
Tooth abscesses can affect anyone; so don’t imagine that your dentist will be surprised to see one, it’s very important to start treatment right away. Dental problems have a habit of becoming much worse if they go ignored, and this type of bacterial problem can get very nasty when left untreated. The infection could spread to the jawbone and other soft tissues, leading to hospitalisation. Although it’s rare for a patient to die from a tooth abscess, there are further implications to having this infection inside your body, it can spread to your vital organs and cause real complications. Septicaemia could also become an issue, usually from the upper jaw line, as this is the fastest way for the bacteria to enter the blood stream.
Although a lot of this information does sound scary, knowing what can go wrong with your teeth can help you avoid trouble in the future. There’s no need to worry yourself un-duly, just being aware of your body and how you are feeling can point you in the right direction. If you think there’s something wrong with your teeth, book an appointment as soon as you can to see the emergency dentist, it might be nothing, but the dentist can put your mind at ease.