An abscessed tooth is an infection in the root of the tooth, often caused by untreated tooth decay. Abscesses present themselves in tooth and gum pain and visibly with pus-filled lumps or sores on the gums. An abscess is an infection, and therefore cannot be treated at home. It is a serious medical condition that must be treated by a dentist before the infection spreads, potentially compromising bone and causing extreme pain, even death in rare cases.
Abscessed Tooth Indications & Symptoms
The most visible indication of an abscess is a pocket of pus on the gums that may look like a pimple or whitish lesion, and which may drain a liquid that may taste or smell badly Patients with an abscess may experience severe shooting or throbbing pain from the abscess site, swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath, or swollen glands and lymph nodes. In some cases, patients may suffer from nausea and vomiting, fever, and other complications associated with infections.
An abscess may develop from an underlying medical condition, such as an autoimmune disorder or a weakened immune system due to a disease or radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
In any case where you or a family member experiences oral lesions or pus-filled bumps, ongoing oral pain, or severe pain near the site of an injury or previous dental work, call your dentists at the Smile Center Dentistry immediately.
Abscessed Tooth Prognosis & Treatment
A dental abscess is a serious infection and should be treated as such. DO NOT attempt to treat an abscessed tooth at home or with over-the-counter remedies.
Infection from an abscess can spread to the face, jaw, heart and/or brain. Severe conditions that can result from a dental abscess include:
- Endocarditis – when an infection spreads to the heart, pockets of bacteria can form on the heart’s inner lining and valves.
- A brain abscess can occur when bacteria from a dental abscess infect the brain tissue.
In rare and severe cases, the infection can lead to death. While several pronounced deaths from abscess tooth and other oral infections have come to light in the news throughout the years, there is little data on how many people die from abscess every year.
Typically, your dentist will perform root canal therapy or other endodontic methods for saving an abscessed tooth. Sometimes, however, extraction is necessary to prevent the infection from spreading or causing other health problems.
Alleviate Pain from Dental Abscess
For pain associated with a dental abscess, you may opt to use over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen or aspirin temporarily for pain, but It is important to see your dentist immediately to treat an abscess.