What Is A Dental Abscess?

What Is A Dental Abscess?

A dental abscess is a common dental issue. An abscess is related to dental infections. Abscesses can be caused by infections in your gums and teeth. If an abscess isn’t treated the infection will worsen and spread throughout your body. While an abscess starts in the mouth, the infection can spread completely through the body causing serious health concerns. In this article, we will cover a deeper definition into abscesses, symptoms to look out for, and treatment. If you or a family member has any oral concerns, consider making a quick dental visit. We provide emergency dental services in Burlington Center Massachusetts and can help you with your dental issues. 

Types Of Tooth Abscesses

A dental abscess is caused by bacterial infection. It might look like a swollen bump in your mouth similar to a pimple or boil. Abscesses are categorized based on where they form. For example, a gingival abscess is caused by an infection in the gums. This abscess won’t initially impact your teeth but can still spread. A periapical abscess forms at the tip of the tooth root. When there is bacteria inside the tooth pulp (the innermost layer of the tooth) it can cause the dental root to fracture. An abscess forms at the fractured point of the tooth root. A periodontal abscess involves an infection that starts in the bones or the tissue that supports your teeth. This is usually caused by gum disease and is very common in adults. Regardless of where an abscess forms, if an abscess is not treated the infection can spread. In the mouth, an infection can impact the jawbone and the tissue that supports your teeth leading to irreversible damage. Beyond that, an infection can impact your overall body health. 

Symptoms Of An Abscessed Tooth

The most common sign of an abscessed tooth is discomfort. Suppose you are experiencing pain that you could describe as sharp/shooting pain, throbbing pain, or pain that radiates into your jawbone, neck, or ear. In that case, it is likely you are experiencing a toothache that is connected to a dental infection. Dental abscesses cause other symptoms as well including:

  • Redness or swelling around the gums
  • Loose adult teeth 
  • Swollen areas around your upper or lower jaw 
  • Open sores on the side of your gums 
  • Bad breath 
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Sensitivity to putting pressure on your teeth
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods 
  • Fever and chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes (Especially around the neck)
  • Feelings related to being sick (i.e. fatigue, discomfort, and feeling ill in general) 

Abscess Tooth Treatments

During a routine dental exam your dentist looks for signs of abscess between ordering dental x-rays to lightly pressing on teeth and providing a visual inspection. If an abscess is found there are a few ways it might be treated. For example, if the abscess is infecting the root of your tooth, you will likely need a root canal to remove the infection. Tooth extractions are also sometimes necessary if a tooth is damaged beyond the point that it can be saved. Removing the tooth can help alleviate your pain and prevent the infection from spreading to other teeth. Antibiotics are also frequently recommended to help fight the infection and kill the bacteria in your mouth. A dentist might also recommend that an abscess is drained. 

Emergency Dental Services in Burlington MA

If you or someone in your family is experiencing dental pain or has an abscessed tooth, please do not hestiate to reach out to our dental team in Burlington Center. We would be happy to help with dental treatments.