What Is an Abscessed Tooth and How Is It Treated?


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Tooth abscesses are painful infections that occur either in your tooth or around your tooth. Often, an abscess may result as an infection that’s begun in the tooth and then has spread to the areas surrounding the tooth. A tooth abscess could even be between your gum and your tooth, causing a pocket of infection to form. Most people experience pain when dealing with a tooth abscess, requiring that you see a dentist as soon as possible. How do tooth abscesses happen and what can be done to successfully treat them?

Decay or Trauma Can Cause Tooth Abscesses

Tooth abscesses are most often caused by tooth decay. This happens when a cavity forms but is not sealed. The cavity allows bacteria to enter the center of your tooth, where your tooth’s nerves are. This area is often referred to as the tooth’s pulp.

Once decay has progressed to this point, the tooth pulp becomes inflamed and infected. Although the pulp will usually die as a result of this, the infection may continue to spread. This will form a painful swelling around your tooth resulting in a toothache. Teeth that have experienced trauma are also subject to tooth abscesses. This includes teeth that have been broken or chipped—these can also allow bacteria to enter your tooth’s inner pulp and cause an infection.

Root Canal Therapy May Be Necessary

Once the inner pulp of your tooth has died, the tooth is essentially dead but can still remain in your mouth if the infection isn’t too severe. In order to save your tooth, you’ll need root canal therapy. Root canal therapy will clear out the infection from inside and around your tooth. The abscess may need to be drained in order to remove all of the infection. Once this is done, your dentist or endodontist will seal the space to protect it from future problems.

Once the root canal is done, you’ll have a crown on your tooth to fully protect it. This is the best form of treatment for tooth abscesses as it allows you to keep your natural tooth and clear the infection. You’ll begin to feel better once the painful abscess is gone. In extreme cases, the infection and abscess may be so severe that the only option is to remove the tooth. This is why it’s imperative to know the symptoms of a tooth abscess and seek treatment before it’s too late!

Symptoms of a Tooth Abscess

Not everyone will experience the same symptoms of a tooth abscess. Some people may not even feel pain. You may still notice sign or symptoms of an infection, though. These include:

 Red or swollen gums

 Pain when chewing

 A toothache ranging from mild to severe

 Fever

 Strange taste in your mouth

Be aware of the signs and symptoms of a tooth abscess. Seeking treatment with your dentist before it’s too late can save your tooth! Tooth abscesses can be extremely painful and also could put you at risk to lose your tooth. If you notice any signs or symptoms of an abscess, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with your dentist to ensure you receive effective treatment!

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What Is an Abscessed Tooth and How Is It Treated?
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Be aware of the signs and symptoms of a tooth abscess. Seeking treatment with your dentist before it’s too late can save your tooth!

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Dr. Chand
Dr. Chand

Dr. Chand is the leading dentist at McLean Family Dentistry in McLean, Virginia. She has attended courses on occlusion and Invisalign® in addition to all aspects of general and cosmetic dentistry, and is committed to staying up-to-date on the newest trends in dental technology.

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