The Pain of Tooth Abscess: Causes and Management Strategies

Any type of infection in your body can be debilitating. Your teeth too are prone to infection if not taken care of, and if inflicted by microorganisms mainly bacteria. Poor oral hygiene and unhealthy habits can increase bacterial colonization leading to tooth infection. And the most common among them is tooth abscess. 

Read on to learn everything about a tooth abscess and how it can be treated by the dentist in Norfolk, MA, and their expert team of dental specialists. 

What is a tooth abscess? 

A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus from a bacterial infection in your gums. An abscess looks like a red, swollen bump, boil, or pimple. It affects the involved tooth, however, the infection may spread to the neighboring teeth and underlying bone. 

What type of infections can cause a tooth abscess?

These types of infections can cause tooth abscesses, namely:

  • Gingival: The infection develops and is confined only to your gums. 
  • Periapical: This type of infection forms at the tip of the tooth root. The bacteria may invade deep into the pulp and invade the roots resulting in bacterial infection and abscess formation. 
  • Periodontal: Here the infection starts within the jawbone that supports your teeth. 

What causes a tooth abscess?

Any abnormal opening in your teeth can pave the way for bacterial colonization, resulting in infection and tooth abscess. Causes include:

  • Tooth cavities 
  • Broken, chipped, or cracked tooth
  • Gum disease 
  • Tooth injury 

You are more likely to develop tooth abscess if you:

  • Smoke 
  • Suffer from xerostomia (dry mouth)
  • Have poor oral hygiene 
  • Have a weak immune system 

What are the symptoms of a tooth abscess?

Pain is the most common symptom suffered due to a tooth abscess. You may experience dull, gnawing, sharp, shooting pain near the affected area.

Other symptoms include:

  • Difficulty chewing and biting 
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Pain radiating to the jaws 
  • Bitter taste in your mouth
  • Bad Breath
  • Gum swelling and redness
  • Loosening of the affected tooth 
  • Mild-grade fever 
  • Swollen lymph nodes  

How is a tooth abscess treated?

Treatment options include: 

  • Medications: Your dentist may prescribe suitable antibiotics to treat tooth infections. 
  • Incision and drainage: Your dentist will make a small cut and drain the pus. 
  • Root canal therapy: Here your dentist will remove the inflamed and infected pulp and replace it with a biocompatible material like gutta percha to seal the tooth from further infection. This is followed by crown placement. 
  • Tooth extraction: A tooth abscess beyond repair may require a tooth extraction to prevent the infection from spreading to the other healthy teeth. 

Seek dental care as soon as you notice any symptoms of tooth abscess to improve oral health and your quality of life. 

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