While nearly everyone has heard of a toothache, not everyone knows what a tooth abscess is or whether it is the same thing as a toothache. Anyone who is dealing with a persistently painful tooth should seek immediate dental treatment to reduce the risk of further damage or widespread infection.
What Is an Abscessed Tooth?
An abscess occurs when a tooth infection extends all the way into the root of a tooth, which is known as the pulp. The abscessed root area is filled with dead white blood cells, other diseased tissues and bacteria. This is dangerous because the tooth has already failed to get rid of the infection, and the infection could potentially spread into the bloodstream.
An abscessed tooth is different from a periodontal abscess. The periodontal abscess begins in the gums next to the tooth rather than in the root of the tooth.
What Are Common Causes of Abscessed Teeth?
The most common cause of a tooth abscess is poor dental hygiene: infrequent tooth brushing, flossing, and infrequent or nonexistent dental checkups. However, other causes may include the following:
- Teeth Grinding
- Clenching Teeth
- A high sugar diet
- Previous dental work in the area
How Is a Tooth Abscess or Periodontal Abscess Treated?
Once the dentist diagnoses the abscess through a thorough assessment of the mouth along with dental x-rays, he will need to clean out all of the infected material. For a tooth, the area will be drilled open. For the gums, the dentist may make an incision to drain pus or infected fluid. If the tooth can be restored, the patient will need a root canal. Typically, the individual will also need to follow up with oral antibiotics to prevent the spread of the tooth infection.
If the tooth is too decayed and past saving, the patient may need a tooth extraction. In this case, restorative dentistry can provide a bridge or a tooth implant to improve the look of the smile.
If your tooth hurts or you feel pain around your gums, contact New Image today to schedule a free consultation. During your dentist appointment, the dentist will thoroughly examine the affected area to determine the best course of action to ensure your condition is treated.