An abscessed tooth involves infection within the root of a tooth or amidst a tooth and the gum. The usual reason is having severe tooth decay but other causes include trauma especially when a tooth is chipped or broken as well as gum disease.
Any issues that result to the opening in the tooth enamel allows bacteria to infect the middle part of the tooth or pulp. There are instances in which the infection can also spread from the root of the tooth to the supporting bones.
The usual indications of an abscessed tooth include throbbing or gnawing pain or sharp or shooting pain triggered by a severe and continuous toothache.
Other symptoms that might be present include:
- Bitter taste in the mouth
- Pain while chewing
- Foul-smelling breath
- Sensitivity of teeth to hot or cold
- Swollen neck glands
- General discomfort or uneasiness
- Swollen area in the upper or lower jaw
- Swelling or redness of the gums
- Open, draining sore on the side of the gum
- Loose tooth
The objective of treatment for an abscessed tooth is to get rid of the infection, preserve the tooth and prevent any complications.
The infection can be treated by draining the abscess such as:
- Drainage might be done through the tooth which is called as a root canal.
- In some cases, the tooth can be extracted to allow drainage via the socket.
- Abscess is drained by an incision into the swollen gum tissue.
Once drainage is done, antibiotics are given to fight the infection.
When preserving the tooth, root canal surgery might be suggested to eliminate any infected root tissue and a crown is applied over the tooth. In some cases, the affected tooth might be removed.
For relief from the pain and discomfort, a warm salt water rinse and over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen can be given.
An abscessed tooth can be prevented by observing good oral hygiene practices and regular dental exams. These can help lower the risk for developing one. In addition, if the teeth sustained trauma, it is vital to consult a dentist as soon as possible.