What is a Tooth Abscess?

Ignoring pain is never a good sign, dental or otherwise. Pain warns the body of infection or problems that can soon escalate. Mouth pain can occur from a plethora of sources: cavities, infections, cuts from sharp objects, gum diseaseteeth grinding, or even general tension and stress. But when pain increases, it is time to seek professional guidance about the dangers of a potential abscess. A tooth abscess, also known as a dental abscess, can occur as a complication of tooth decay when a cavity is untreated. A cavity occurs when bacteria, also known as plaque, seeps into the tooth through trauma in the tooth—a crack, fissure, or weak enamel. The infection of the cavity may spread to other areas of the mouth—often resulting in an abscess around the gum line. As the infection spreads to other areas of the mouth, patients may experience an increase in pain, swelling, and the amount of pus produced.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Bad breath
  • General pain
  • Fever
  • Sensitivity to extreme temperatures
  • Throbbing

Pus is the accumulation of bacteria, dead cells, and white blood cells, which forms within an abscess, and it must be relieved through draining—a small surgical procedure. Draining the abscess will relieve pain and tension in the infected area, as well as the swollen region surrounding the infection.

There are three types of dental abscesses: gingival abscess, which affects the gum tissue but not the teeth; periodontal abscess, which starts at the bone structure; and periapical abscess, which infects the soft tissue known as tooth pulp. If the abscess goes untreated for a long period of time, the swelling from the infection may expand and create a blockage in the airway, resulting in a difficulty of breathing, and thus creating an emanate danger.

Brushing, flossing and utilizing mouthrinse regularly will help to fight plaque, and therefore reduce an individual’s likelihood to develop a cavity. Attending the dentist regularly for routine cleanings will also help to remove tartar. While at the dentist, they will regularly check for an abscess or any issues within the oral cavity. Inform the dentist of any swelling or pain experienced since the last visit. Prompt treatment of any infection will often help prevent the abscess from spreading or causing more discomfort.

Dr. Alexander Ash at Studio Dental Care performs both general and cosmetic dentistry treatments. Contact his office today, and speak with a friendly customer care representative, to schedule an appointment for any oral discomfort or pain. Dr. Ash and his team of professional hygienists treat patients in the entire Los Angeles area including, Sherman Oaks, Burbank, and Toluca Lake. Call today and don’t let a painful abscess dictate your life!

Dr. Ash is the founder of Studio Dental Care. He earned his Doctorate at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, followed by two General Residencies at New York-Presbyterian / Weill-Cornell Hospital and the UCLA Sepulveda VA Hospital.

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