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August 06 2011

Is That Pain in Your Mouth from an Abscessed Tooth? Read This!

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An abscessed tooth is a painful infection that results in a build-up of pus residing in the tissue pocket surrounding the tooth. As a dental practice management consultant, my clients often warn their patients on the danger of abscesses, which can lead to serious matters if they aren’t treated immediately. When the pulp of a tooth dies due to damage or decay, bacteria will begin to grow from the dead tissue that is left in the root. The bacteria will eventually spread from the root of the dead tooth into the tissue that is below and create a pocket of pus – the abscess.


While a bad cavity can lead to an abscess, having severe gum disease is also a culprit as it causes the gums to recede away from the teeth. This leaves pockets between the tooth and the gum, and when it becomes blocked with plaque or bits of food, it creates the bacteria which grows and spreads. This causes an abscess to form under the surface of the gum, which gradually increases in size, which results in visible swelling in the jaw and, sometimes, cheeks.


Once the infection has started to spread, the part of your jawbone near the infection may start to dissolve as it makes room for the swelling in the area that has been infected. Once the bone starts to dissolve, the pressure will be greatly reduced, although the infection will still be present. Even though you will get some temporary relief, the infection will get worse – and the pain will always come back. Once more of the bone has been dissolved, there will be nothing left to support the tooth, which eventually results in an extraction.

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It is not difficult to spot the symptoms of an abscessed tooth, which include severe pain in the affected area; red, swollen gums, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, excrutiating pain, swelling in the jaw spreading to the cheek and a fever. In some extreme cases, a person with an abscessed tooth might require hospitalization.


Abscesses mostly occur with back teeth, although they can happen in the front as well. Once your tooth has become abscessed, your dentist won’t immediately pull it. If a tooth that has abscessed is extracted once the infection is still present, it can quickly spread. Your dentist or cosmetic dentist Delray Beach will instead prescribe you some antibiotics that can help to destroy the bacteria.


The dentist can also perform a root canal, in an attempt to remove dead or decayed tissue. Last but not least, he can also drill a hole in the tooth to give the infection a chance to drain and try to remove any dead pulp. The most common treatment with an abscess is to use antibiotics to kill the infection and have the tooth removed. You should never let it get that bad – as an abscess is something that can destroy your jawbone.


To avoid getting an abscess in the first place (though it’s never guaranteed), make sure you schedule regular, preventative appointments with your cosmetic dentist Delray Beach for cleanings and x-rays, so that if there is a problem, it can be taken care of before the symptoms become too painful as well as a danger to overall health.