Many dental problems, such as tooth decay or gum disease, progress slowly over time and can be hard to diagnose and treat right away. A dental abscess is different; it is easy to tell when a tooth is abscessed. Usually it is because it causes extreme pain as soon as it develops. If you have a dental abscess, you will need to schedule a visit with a dentist as soon as possible. Continue reading to learn all you need to know about dental abscesses, including how to avoid them and how to best treat them.
What Is a Dental Abscess?
A dental abscess is the result of an infection that starts at the tooth and develops into an infection of the mouth, jaw, or throat. It can spread to cheeks, under the tongue, and the gums as well. The abscess itself is a pocket of pus in a tooth that is cause by the infection. In many cases a dental abscess will look like a pimple, or a red bump with a white head, on your gum line.
What Causes Dental Abscesses?
Dental abscesses are caused by an original source of infection. This could be tooth decay or gum disease that has progressed. Additionally, an abscess can be caused by trauma to a tooth. It is likely that an abscess is the result of poor dental care. Neglecting to regularly brush teeth, floss, and visit a dentist regularly for cleanings can lead to infections. These infections will likely progress into dental abscesses. They can be avoided by proper dental care. People with underlying medical problems that have compromised immune systems are more likely to develop dental abscesses.
How Are Dental Abscesses Treated?
A dentist can prescribe antibiotics to prevent the infection from spreading. Pain can also be managed with over the counter pain relievers. A dentist will determine the best treatment plan based on where the abscess is located. Treatment options may include a root canal or tooth extraction. Your dentist can help you determine if a root canal treatment is right for you.