A dental abscess is a pocket of pus that is caused by a bacterial infection. The main symptom of a tooth abscess is tooth or gum pain, especially when eating or lying down. The pain can be throbbing or feel like it’s radiating throughout your jaw and into your face, ears, or neck. Other symptoms include swelling, sensitivity, change in gum color, a foul taste in the mouth, bad breath, and tenderness in the neck or under the jaw. If the abscess is on top of the gums, it will be a small bump that looks similar to a pimple.
There are three main kinds of tooth abscesses. A periapical abscess forms on the roots of a tooth and is usually caused by bacteria entering the tooth through untreated tooth decay. A periodontal abscess forms inside the gums and is usually caused by gum disease. A gingival abscess forms on the top of the gums and is caused by a foreign object getting stuck in the gums.
It’s important to seek treatment for a tooth abscess right away. If it ruptures, you will likely feel relief from the pain, but you will still want to have a dental professional take a look at it. If it doesn’t rupture and it’s causing you a lot of pain and stress, an experienced dentist can carefully drain the abscess, clean it with a saline solution, and remove the foreign object if it’s a gum abscess.
An abscess sometimes requires root canal therapy to clear out the infected tooth pulp. Once the root canal is performed, a dental crown may be placed to restore the appearance and functionality of the tooth and protect it from harmful bacteria. In more severe cases, a dental extraction could be required if the tooth has become too damaged.
A tooth abscess is considered a dental emergency, so if you believe you have an abscessed tooth, please call our front office right away so we can advise. Not only will you finally feel some pain relief, but our knowledgeable team can cure the infection and prevent it from spreading and causing further dental and medical problems.