DENTAL EMERGENCY: DENTAL ABSCESS
Most common reasons:
-Infection in Gum Tissue
-Infection inside Tooth with large cavity
-Inflamed gum tissue
-Pus and “pimple” in area of infection
Time needed to be seen: Immediately
When your gum tissue or tooth is weak due to gingivitis/periodontal disease or a large cavity, bacteria can cause an infection. The most apparent sign of an abscess is painful swelling and the presence of pus (thick yellow fluid). If the pus has no where to drain the area will get more swollen and painful. Your body tries to protect itself by trying to isolate the bacteria and forming a barrier around it.
Abscesses can form very quick, most of the time they form 1-2 days from the date infection starts.
A gum related abscess due to periodontal disease: Infection in the gum tissue, due to food getting trapped or if there has been a large amount of bacteria (tartar, periodontal calculus) that has accumulated underneath your gum tissue). If you have periodontal disease and did not do a scaling and root planning (also known as deep cleaning) the bacteria accumulates underneath your gum tissue and causes the infection.
A tooth related abscess: This happens when there is a large cavity that has been left untreated, the cavity has progressed its way into the tooth’s nerve. Your tooth nerve is dead and cannot defend itself and the bacteria spreads its way down the root canal and spreads into the surrounding bone. A lot of times this process is not painful until it is too late, so it is very important to get your Dental Checkup every 6 months.
There is no home remedy to treat abscesses, abscess can be very dangerous if left untreated. Most of the time the abscess is so painful that patients find an Emergency Dentist right away. Sometimes there is no pain associated with abscesses. Abscess are not self resolving, they do not go away on its own and it is necessary to go to your nearest Dental Emergency Care center as soon as possible.
If tooth abscess is left untreated, it will damage surrounding structures such as bone and teeth in the infected area. The buildup of pressure causes the pain of an abscess, you will need your Dentist to drain your abscess to reduce the pressure.
If you are immunocompromised, sick, or elderly there is a chance that the abscess will spread into other parts of your body and lead to very serious health problems.
What to do until you can get to your dentist’s office:
-Rinse with warm salt water in area of abscess
-Take an over the counter pain reliever such as Tylenol
Your Visit will include:
-XRays will be taken of the affected tooth
-Diagnostic tests to find out the origin of the infection, gum versus tooth
Treatment depends on where the source of infection is.
1) Gum Tissue Infection: Incision and Drainage of area, scaling and root planning, rinse with chlorhexidine (antibiotic rinse)
2) Tooth Infection: Root Canal Therapy, Core Buildup, Dental Crown, sometimes incision and drainage is necessary.
3) If the tooth is not able to be saved then dental extraction is indicated.
Antibiotics and pain killers are typically given after the after the appointment to prevent the bacteria from spreading and causing a serious infection.