A toothache is one of the most common signs of tooth infection. However, many people ignore the sign by adopting quick fixes such as pain medication. However, the problem can spread to other teeth and adjacent tissue. Over time, bacterial infection can cause a pocket of pus to form, also known as a tooth abscess. You are likely to experience signs and symptoms such as severe pain, tooth sensitivity, swelling in gums, bleeding gums, fever and general body malaise. A tooth abscess is a leading cause of dental emergencies because it is often ignored until the infection causes unimaginable pain.
Abscesses occur in various places around a tooth for various reasons. Similarly, the abscess can affect adjacent teeth and surrounding bone. Periapical abscesses affect the inside of a tooth. The infection starts at the tip of a tooth's root and may spread to adjacent areas if left untreated. Children who do not observe proper dental hygiene are the most susceptible to periapical abscess due to the development of cavities, eroding the dentin and enamel, and forcing bacteria to enter the pulp. Consequently, the pulp gets inflamed, causing the death of nerves. The affected tooth becomes vulnerable to abscess because bacteria attacks the dead tissue. Also, inflammation is likely to occur, leading to swelling in the cheeks, jaw, and floor of the mouth, a condition known as pulpitis.
A periodontal abscess often starts from the periodontium and the alveolar bone because of gum disease or trauma to the tooth. Therefore, the affected teeth, coupled with the surrounding area, become inflamed or loose, causing a pocket between the tooth and tissue. The resulting pocket is susceptible to bacterial infection, which leads to a periodontal abscess. The type of abscess mostly affects adults.
Prevention and Treatment
You can stop a tooth abscess from becoming an emergency by maintaining proper dental hygiene, including regular flossing and brushing. Besides, avoid the intake of foods that are high in sugar. Also, ensure that you observe regular dental checkups. Dental abscesses are often treated by draining pus from the affected area. The draining is done through a surgical process, whereby an incision is made in the gum. If a tooth is infected, a dentist can drill a hole in the tooth to release the pus. In some instances, surgery may be performed by a maxillofacial surgeon. A root canal might also be performed to repair the affected tooth. However, if a tooth is severely damaged, it must be extracted to stop further infection.
For more information, contact a dentist regarding emergency dental treatments.