Poor dental hygiene can lead to oral health problems. An abscessed tooth is the formation of an infectious mass around the root of a damaged tooth. It requires prompt treatment by a dentist because the infection from an abscessed tooth can spread to your face, neck, and eventually the entire body if you don't seek help.
At Hometown Family Dental Centers, you and your family receive high-quality dental care from a compassionate and understanding team. We provide services for all of your dental needs at three convenient locations: in Vass, Fayetteville, and Raeford, North Carolina.
What is an abscessed tooth?
An abscess is an infected pocket of pus that forms beneath the gum line and usually occurs as a result of an untreated tooth cavity, an injury, or poor dental hygiene. Dentists treat an abscessed tooth by draining the pus, getting rid of the infection, and correcting the damage.
You can save your tooth with a root canal, but the tooth may need to be extracted in some cases. Without treatment, an abscessed tooth can lead to serious, even life-threatening, complications.
What causes an abscessed tooth?
Your teeth appear hard and impenetrable, but the inside of a tooth is soft and fragile, and it contains several nerve endings. If bacteria from tooth decay or damage gets through the strong, hard surface and reaches the soft tissues inside, it can cause an infectious abscess under and around the tooth root. It’s extremely painful.
Common causes of tooth abscesses are gum disease or periodontal disease, deep dental cavities, and cracked and broken teeth. Any of these issues can cause infections in the roots and around a tooth, which can eventually lead to abscesses.
What are the symptoms of an abscessed tooth?
Painful teeth and gums are the most prominent signs of an abscessed tooth. You may see swelling and redness around your gums. Some other symptoms include:
- Swelling around your mouth
- Swelling in your lymph nodes
- Problems chewing and swallowing food
- An unpleasant taste or odor in your mouth
- Pain in your jaw
- The appearance of large pimple-like bumps on your gums
In some cases, you might not have any apparent signs of a tooth abscess. For example, you may have a recurring headache and not know why. When you visit the specialists at Hometown Family Dental Centers, they can diagnose the presence of an abscess through an X-ray.
How can I prevent an abscessed tooth?
Abscesses are caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth, so one of the most common ways to prevent a tooth abscess is by maintaining good dental and oral hygiene.
Here are some other tips to prevent an abscessed tooth:
- Brush, floss, and use mouthwash regularly
- Get a new toothbrush every few months
- Control your consumption of sugar and sweets
- Avoid drinking soda
It’s important to schedule regular dental examinations and cleanings and get prompt treatment for loose or cracked teeth.
Treatment of abscessed teeth
If the infection isn’t severe, your dentist drains the abscess and prescribes antibiotics to get rid of the infection. Sometimes a root canal may be necessary to remove all of the infected material. If the infection has progressed too far and your dentist can’t save your tooth, an extraction may be necessary.
If you’re experiencing dental pain and think you might have an abscessed tooth, our oral care experts at Hometown Family Dental Centers help. Call us today, or use this secure online form to request an appointment.