If your mouth and jaw are swollen, tender, and painful, one of the most common causes is an abscess.
A dental abscess is uncomfortable and mildly painful at best, but if the area is severely infected, it can lead to extreme pain, gum sensitivity, and a discharge of pus (the thick, yellowish liquid inside the swollen area). Normally, an abscess occurs when there is a bacterial infection in the mouth that has not gotten treated, thus leading to a more severe infection. The abscess is actually your body’s way of putting a “barrier” around the infected area to stop the bacteria from spread. Most of the time, people seek treatment quickly once an abscess forms, since they are painful.
There are two types of abscess:
- A gum abscess (also called a periodontal abscess) usually is caused by an infection in the space between the tooth and gum. The infection may occur after food gets trapped between the gum and tooth. In people with severe periodontal disease, bacteria can build up under the gum and in the bone.
- A tooth-related abscess (also called a periapical abscess) occurs inside the tooth. This happens when the tooth’s nerve is dead or dying. This type of abscess shows up at the tip of the tooth’s root. Then it spreads to the surrounding bone.
So, how can we help you?
We offer dental services that can help clean the infected area in your mouth, drain the abscess of any pus, and help reduce the pain. We offer thorough cleaning for the abscessed area, as well as treating the symptoms of the infection.
If a fistula (a pathway for the pus to drain) has formed, the point of infection will be discovered by inserting a flexible, thin piece of material into the fistula. This will appear on an X-ray and show the dentist where the fistula leads. Once the infection is cleaned up, the fistula normally closes on its own.
If the infection started inside a tooth, your dentist will make a small hole in the tooth. This allows the abscess to drain. The tooth will need root canal treatment, followed by a filling or a crown.
If an abscess is very large or the tooth is badly damaged, you may need to have the tooth removed. A large abscess often will need to be drained. The dentist makes a hole in the gum through the bone that provides an exit path for any fluid or pus. This will reduce the risk of further spread of the infection.
If you are experiencing severe pain from abscessed teeth or gums, or you suspect that you are suffering from an abscess, we can help you! Call us today, and we will help you find the best dentists in your area.