Abscesses

What Causes Abscesses?

Abscesses form when a tooth’s pulp chamber has been infested with bacteria, parasites and other materials. The formation of abscesses is a defensive reaction of the tissue in or around the tooth to prevent the contaminants to spread to other parts of the mouth and body. If abscesses have formed in the tooth, a surgical removal is usually needed, especially if a foreign material is causing an abscess. Abscesses do not just disappear without treatment.

Having an abscess in your tooth is painful. The infection can start at the tooth’s root or around the tooth. An abscessed tooth may result from tooth decay or infection in a chipped/broken tooth. Gum disease or gingivitis also causes abscesses to form. When there is a hole or opening in the tooth enamel, bacteria and parasites can enter and infect the pulp in the tooth which causes the infection. The bones that support the tooth can also be infected.

Symptoms

Toothache that is chronic or severe can be a symptom of an abscessed tooth. If the toothache is described as pain that is throbbing, gnawing, or sharp, it is a good reason to go to a dentist. Another sign that you have an abscessed tooth is when you experience pain while chewing. If the tooth is sensitive to cold or hot temperature, it may be infected. An abscessed tooth can leave a bitter taste in the mouth. It can also affect other parts of your mouth and body. Symptoms such as inflamed or swollen gums, sore on the side of the gums, swollen neck glands, and swollen area of the jaw are common when afflicted with an abscessed tooth. Feeling of general discomfort and running a fever are also signs of having an abscessed tooth.

There is a possibility that toothache associated with an abscessed tooth may stop, but it does not mean that the infection is gone. The relief from toothache could be a result of the root ceasing to function, but it does not mean the infection is already inactive. The infection will still spread to areas surrounding the abscessed tooth.

You should still go to a dentist even when the toothache has subsided. A dentist will check the tooth using dental instruments to ascertain that you have an abscessed tooth. An x-ray scan may also be needed. If you have an abscessed tooth, a root canal treatment will be recommended to save the tooth. The treatment involves the removal of the tooth’s pulp and nerve and cleaning the tooth before sealing it.