A dental abscess is an infection at the root of a tooth. When harmful bacteria enter the nerve of a tooth, called the pulp chamber, it causes an infection from within the nerve. There is usually accompanying pus or fluid at the tip of the root. The condition may result in a noticeable bump or draining sac on the gums or might only be diagnosed when an x-ray is taken of the tooth.
The first sign you may be experiencing a dental abscess is pain, but sometimes you may have a bump and not experience any symptoms.
Symptoms of a dental abscess
The most common symptoms of a dental abscess are pain/pressure in the area, bad taste or smell, feeling of a lump or bump above the tooth and mild fever. You may also notice the tooth is slightly loose sometimes though you may not experience any symptoms.
What causes a dental abscess?
Unfortunately, there are many reasons why a person may develop a dental abscess. Listed below are the possible causes of a dental abscess.
- Large cavities that have travelled into the nerve of the tooth
- Untreated cavities
- Old fillings that have broken down
- Fractures or cracks in the teeth
- Gum disease that leads to extensive bone loss
- Aggressive clenching or grinding
- Trauma to a tooth
- Impacted or partially erupted teeth (most commonly wisdom teeth)
What are your treatment options?
Luckily there is a high possibility of saving a tooth with an abscess, but it is essential to take action immediately. Your dentist will likely prescribe you an antibiotic to help reduce the infection. Taking this antibiotic for the entire recommended time is vital, so the infection doesn’t return. The tooth will then likely require a root canal treatment because the nerve has been affected, and the tooth will “die” otherwise. If the abscess is too large and the tooth isn’t salvageable, it may need to be extracted at this point. This will prevent the infection from spreading to surrounding teeth. If extraction is necessary, there are options such as implants and a dental bridge to replace the missing tooth.
If you have any questions about dental abscesses, we encourage you to contact us today to book an appointment.