A dental abscess is a condition where there is pus that accumulated in your gums or in your teeth. Pus in your mouth sounds unusual, but this is fairly common especially in people who have poor dental hygiene.
There are two kinds of dental abscess – periapical and periodontal. Periapical abscess refers to pus found in the teeth. On the other hand, when it is found in the gums, it’s called periodontal abscess.
The Causes of Dental Abscess
Just like any other pus-related disease, a dental abscess is caused by bacterial infection. This kind of bacterial infection doesn’t come from the natural bacteria in saliva. Instead, it comes from the bacteria in plaque.
Plaque is a kind of yellowish film that sticks to the teeth. It is formed from acids and food residue that weren’t removed from the teeth right away. Plaque in itself is harmful to the teeth and gums. When they aren’t removed, they start to harden and become tartar. Tartar is the culprit of gum disease because the bacteria found in tartar infect the gums. Most of the time, it makes the gums swollen which is why it is prone to bleeding.
There are other causes of dental abscess. One is too much consumption of sugar. Sugar taken in moderation does not harm the teeth. However, too much sugar can reinforce the creation of plaque. Too much sugar can also cause tooth decay and gum infection.
How to Know if You Have Dental Abscess
A dental abscess can be easy to spot. However, there are cases when it is confused with canker sores because of the similarities in appearance. To help you know the difference, here are a few symptoms of dental abscess.
- Throbbing pain in one tooth or one area of the gums
- Pain that can be felt on your jaw or ear near the infected area
- Swelling on the side of the face near the painful area
- Swollen and reddish gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Loose tooth
- Unpleasant taste left in the mouth even after brushing
Treatment for Dental Abscess
When you have one or two symptoms that show dental abscess, the first thing you should do is consult a dentist. Unlike canker sores, a dental abscess is severe because the bacteria in the pus can spread to the different parts of your mouth. When it is not contained and cured, it can affect your other teeth and it can weaken the gums that hold them together.
Your dentist will give treatment for your dental abscess. If the condition is not severe, he or she can drain the abscess by cutting a small piece in your gums. But this is just a temporary solution. Your dentist might advise you to go through root canal treatment where the main source of the abscess is addressed. The abscess gets removed and the tooth is filled and sealed after. Another treatment can be tooth extraction. This is the last resort of dentists because this means that you have to fully remove the damaged tooth.
During treatments, you will be given anesthesia so that you don’t feel any pain. If you need to go through surgery, a general anesthetic will be consulted.
There are also home remedies for when you can’t see a dentist right away. If the pain is bothering you, take ibuprofen. Ibuprofen will help lessen the pain until you get to see a dentist. But you shouldn’t overuse ibuprofen. Taking paracetamol can also help.
To add to that, avoid anything that will just aggravate the pain. So you have to shy away from drinking or eating anything too hot or too cold. These foods might just worsen the pain or even hurt your teeth. You should also start using a softer and finer toothbrush. And when you brush, make sure that you do it gently so you don’t accidentally pop the pus.
But even if you have home remedies, you should still see a dentist. A dentist is the only person qualified to treat a dental abscess. It’s not advisable to prolong having dental abscess because when this spreads to the other parts of the mouth, it can severely damage your teeth and gums. And when that happens, you might need to go under the knife.