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Tooth abscess treatment

Simply put, a tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that can form in the different parts of the teeth or gums due to a bacterial infection. It’s often caused by tooth decay, gum disease, or cracks in the tooth.

An abscess can occur at the tip of your tooth’s root, the space between the gums and teeth, in the gums, or around an impacted or partially erupted lower wisdom tooth.

A tooth abscess does not heal or go away by itself. Even if it ruptures, you will still need your dentist for proper treatment.

What are the symptoms of a tooth abscess?

  • throbbing pain in the tooth or gums
  • sensitivity to pressure or tapping on the tooth
  • sensitivity to hot or cold food and drinks
  • red or swollen gums
  • jaw or facial swelling
  • unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • fever
A tooth abscess does not heal or go away by itself, and it is important to get your dentist’s help as soon as possible.
Tooth abscess treatment

What are the treatments for abscessed tooth?

Depending on the severity of the infection and location of the abscess, your dentist may recommend any of the following treatment:

  • Incision and drainage – Your dentist will make a small cut into the abscess to allow the pus to drain and will then thoroughly clean the area to get rid of the infection.
  • Root canal treatment – Your endodontist (root canal specialist) will remove the infected pulp and drain the abscess. After filling and sealing your tooth, it may be covered with a crown to make it stronger.
  • Antibiotics – In certain cases, your dentist may recommend the use of antibiotics if the infection has spread to other areas like the adjacent teeth or jaws.
  • Extraction – Your dentist will always recommend saving your tooth with a root canal treatment. If this is not possible, your dentist may suggest an extraction.

What happens if an abscess is left untreated?

If properly treated, an abscess typically does not cause long-term problems. However, if left untreated, the infection may spread to your jaw or to the other areas of your head and neck. In certain cases, the complications can be potentially life-threatening.

How can you prevent an abscess?

  • Proper oral hygiene - Brush your teeth twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste. Floss regularly.
  • Routine dental checkup – See your dentist every six months (or more frequently as advised) to prevent oral diseases and keep your oral health in check.
  • Routine dental cleaning – There will always be areas in the mouth that we can’t thoroughly clean by ourselves. Professional cleaning will help prevent cavities and gum disease.
  • A healthy diet – A diet high in sugar can increase your risk of cavities. Limit your intake of sweets, sodas and other sugary drinks.
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