An abscess is an infection that can be very painful and problematic in teeth. These infections must be dealt with immediately to keep them from worsening or spreading and to reduce the risk of losing the tooth.
Untreated cavities, gum disease, or traumatic injury to the tooth are the most common causes of an abscess. When bacteria from a cavity spreads from the tooth to the surrounding tissue it can cause an infection. This usually occurs when the cavity is left untreated and the bacteria reaches the dentin inside tooth. Gum disease causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, leaving pockets around them where bacteria can flourish. Food can also get stuck in these pockets, creating an even better environment for bacteria to grow and an infection- abscess- to form.
If you have the flowing symptoms, it could be an abscess:
• Throbbing pain, especially when chewing
• A tooth or area of the gums that is very tender or sore to the touch
• Sensitivity to heat and cold
• Red, swollen gums
• A foul, bitter, or salty taste in your mouth
• Swelling in the face or jaw
• A red, swollen bump in the mouth
• Pus or blood in the mouth
An abscess is a dental emergency, so call our office right away if you have such symptoms. If left untreated, an abscess can eventually cause the bone around the tooth to dissolve. Sometimes the pain may decrease once bone has dissolved, however, this is not a sign that the infection is no longer present. The infection and bone loss continue and can cause complications such as tooth loss or spread of the infection to other parts of the body with the potential to be very serious.
Mall of Georgia Dentistry wants to help you avoid an abscessed tooth and keep you smiling wide, so remember to brush your teeth with a good fluoride toothpaste twice a day, in the morning and at night, as well as floss between your teeth every day. Stay on top of your regular dental cleanings and checkups and avoid too many sugary or acidic foods and drinks. Also treat dry mouth and wear a mouth guard during sports to help prevent injury since these factors can also create inroads for bacteria to cause an abscess.