What Is An Abscess?

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You’ve been dealing with extreme pain around your tooth and gums for some time now. Is it possible that you’re suffering from a tooth abscess beneath the surface of your gums occuring around the root of your tooth? Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence, but many people don’t know what it is, how it’s caused, or when to pursue treatment. 


This guide will break down what an abscess is and when to seek treatment from your local dentist:

What Exactly Is a Tooth Abscess? 


A tooth abscess is a specific type of abscess that occurs in the mouth. In other words, it’s a pocket of pus resulting from a bacterial infection. It can occur anywhere around the tooth root, but the two most common areas are around the tip or side of the root. Abscesses can be extremely painful, with lots of irritation and swelling in the affected areas. 


Symptoms of a tooth abscess can include severe and constant tooth pain extending to the jaw, ears, and neck. You might be extra sensitive to temperature extremes or find it difficult to chew or bite. You may have a fever, swelling, or swollen lymph nodes as the abscess progresses. Some people also experience a foul smell coming from their mouths. 


Keep in mind that an abscess can also rupture, resulting in a rush of fluid in the mouth. It will be relatively salty and have a bad taste and smell. You’ll know that your abscess ruptured if you also feel relief from the near-constant pain you previously had. 

Causes of an Abscess


Understanding why an abscess develops is actually quite simple. Most start when there’s a small chip in the tooth that allows bacteria to enter the pulp. That bacteria spread quickly to the root of the tooth, leading to swelling, inflammation, and the other painful symptoms of an abscess. 


You’re more at risk of developing an abscess if you neglect your oral hygiene because it leads to tooth decay and bacteria buildup. Consuming a lot of sugar and not drinking enough water (which leads to dry mouth) can also contribute to the development of an abscess. 


Limit your risk of developing an abscess by using fluoride, brushing twice daily, flossing, and visiting the dentist every six months for a cleaning and check-up. 

When Should You Pursue Treatment?


If you notice any of the symptoms above, you need to see a dentist as soon as possible. You will know that the abscess has progressed if you experience fever, facial swelling, and difficulty breathing and swallowing. If not addressed promptly, the infection that caused the abscess can spread and result in other complications. 

Treating Your Abscess


If you suspect that you may have a dental abscess, seek treatment immediately. Trust your care to the experienced dentists at East Kildonan Dental Group. Our dental office in Winnipeg can help ease your pain and get your teeth and gums in perfect order again! 


Article written by East Kildonan Dental

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