An abscess refers to the collection of pus within the tissues.
A dental abscess is essentially a mouth infection caused by
bacterial growth in an already infected tooth. Poor dental care
often results in cavity formation in the teeth. Slowly and gradually,
the infection starts spreading to the gums as well as its
surrounding areas and finally causes a dental abscess.
Its typical symptoms include swelling, pain and mouth redness.
In certain cases, it might require a surgery too.
Dental abscess are two types
1. Periapica labscess: Tooth abscesses occur at the root tip and the
pus is generally formed in the bone surrounding the tooth. Such an
abscess is known as periapical abscess.
2. Periodontal abscess: It is also called as gum abscess. In this type of
abscess bacteria infect the gum.
The dentist usually advises a course of antibiotics to overcome the
infection and painkillers to reduce the pain.
Causes of tooth abscess
It is the result of a chronic infection of the pulp tissues that spread
beyond the tooth in long-standing cases. Dental caries if not treated
in the initial stages continue to affect the pulp, which may further
progress to form an abscess.
Symptoms of tooth abscess
- Tooth abscess may either be characterized by a small swelling on
the gums near the affected tooth or may result in a diffuse swelling
visible on the face.
- Chronic pain or pain that worsens at night may also be noted.
- Fever may occur in some cases.
- The affected tooth generally has a big cavity and may also be mobile.
Complication of tooth abscess
Promptly consulting the dentist is required, if one see any signs of a swelling
in his/her mouth or on the face to prevent complications.
Severe cases of tooth abscess may at times be life–threatening.1
Management of tooth absecess
Treatment for dental abscess
Most abscesses are painful, so one needs to seek treatment right away. Apart from the more intricate dental interventions like drainage, root canal, or extraction, the start-up treatment for a dental abscess begins with painkillers and antibiotics.
If the swelling is of noticeable size then, the dentist may also drain
the pus to relieve the symptoms.
The affected tooth will either be treated with the root canal therapy
or may be removed if it is grossly destructed. Minor gum surgeries
may also be required in some cases.
The swelling usually reduces within a few hours or 1–2 days depending
on its severity.
Image courtesy: daviddarling.info/images
Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: March 26, 2012