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Tooth Abscess or Gum Abscess? Everything You Want to Know

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

protect your teeth from dental abscess hagen dental practice in cincinnati

Do you have what can be best described as a severe ache in your tooth? Or are you avoiding eating on one side of your mouth because of the awful pain you have in that area when you chew?

Or…do any of these symptoms sound familiar?

  • Swollen gums
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Sensitive lymph nodes (of your jaw and/or neck area in particular)
  • Pain while chewing in one area of your mouth
  • A throbbing feeling that just won’t go away in your mouth
  • Discomfort near your jaw, neck, or ear
  • Draining sore
  • In some cases, a fever
  • Slight swelling in your face or cheek (1)

While it’s best for you to come in and see us for a diagnosis, these are the symptoms of an abscess…

What’s An Abscess?

loose tooth hagen dental practice in cincinnatiA tooth abscess is an infection in or around the root of your tooth, and typically it’s painful, although not always in its beginning stages. Many times when you hear someone has an “abscess” it actually means one of two scenarios:

  1. Gum abscess. Just as you may guess, this is caused by an infection that exists between your tooth and your gum. You may also hear this called a “periodontal abscess.” So, the question is: How can this happen? A couple ways.Generally, if food is trapped between the gum and tooth, it can cause an infection or if there is a great deal of bacteria build up, it can also lead to infection. That just makes you want to floss, doesn’t it!

  2. Tooth abscess. The other kind of abscess is inside your tooth (which is what we first described). Again, this can happen when the tooth’s nerve is dead or it is dying. The tooth’s root is where the issue starts and then it spreads to the surround bone. This kind of abscess is also referred to as a “periapical abscess,” but we don’t expect you to remember that!

Put simply, if the soft tissue in your mouth, inside the root canal dies and then becomes inflamed—by definition—you have a tooth abscess! Most of the pain you experience is because either kind can be left unchecked, meaning it worsens (1).

Because abscesses can form quickly (in just one or two days after you have an infection), if you have any of the symptoms described below, take note. After all, even if it’s not an abscess, it probably signals something is wrong in your mouth!

Fast Facts About Abscesses

Here are 5 more quick facts that you should know about abscesses:

  1. If the infection is in your tooth, in many cases, a hole will need to be made in the tooth to drain the abscess. This could entail a root canal treatment.
  2. We can see an abscess on a dental x-ray!
  3. Most ARE painful, which is why many people will in fact deal with them right away.
  4. Because it’s an infection, it can spread to other parts of your body, which shows you just how serious it is!
  5. Abscesses can lead to a “tunnel” (sometimes called a “sinus tract”) that forms through the bone and skin, which allows the pus to drain (2).

Think You May Have an Abscess?

Think you may have an abscess? Depending on how severe or how it’s progressed, there are several options for your infection. Antibiotics are often used to control the infection and to kill the bacteria; the infection could be drained and the area cleaned; in some cases root canal treatment may be needed (3).

tooth abscess hagen dental practice in cincinnati

Dental Care in a Relaxing Environment 

We value ensuring that you feel relaxed and comfortable during your visit just as much as we value the health of your pearly whites—and we’ll do everything we can to make you feel at home. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask us a question or be sure to ask us when you’re in for your next appointment.

Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500 to schedule a visit!

Sources:

  1. https://www.verywell.com/pain-relief-for-an-abscessed-tooth-remedies-1059316
  2. http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/dental-emergencies-and-sports-safety/article/abscess
  3. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/a/abscess