What Causes a Tooth Abscess?

25 Jul 2021  |  No Comments
Woman portrait feeling tooth pain at home

A periapical abscess is a bacterial infection of the dental pulp, or the living tissue at the centre of your tooth. An infection in these blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues can lead to symptoms of tenderness and pain, as well as complications such as infection spreading into the gums and root of the tooth, and beyond. If you are wondering whether you have a tooth abscess, read on for the guide by Marsfield Dental Clinic.

How to Know If You Have a Tooth Abscess

Milder symptoms of a tooth abscess include sensitivity to eating or drinking anything too hot or cold. You may also notice a particularly tender or loose tooth, or swollen gums at a single point. A spreading bacterial infection may lead to bad breath or a bad taste.
Though it doesn’t always manifest as pain, this is the most common sign of a tooth abscess. Symptoms vary, from an intense throbbing pain emanating directly from the tooth, to a wider pain that can spread to the jaw and ear on one side. The pain may come and go, or build steadily, or worsen when you are lying down.

What to Do If You Suspect a Tooth Abscess

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a tooth abscess, book an appointment with a dentist right away. This problem won’t solve itself! In the meanwhile, if you have a toothache or other pain, use a painkiller; preferably ibuprofen, but paracetamol is also fine. Take some steps to prevent the pain from getting worse, such as avoiding food or drink that is too hot, cold or will involve hard chewing. Also, try to chew on the other side of the mouth, and avoid hard brushing or flossing around the tooth.

How the Dentist Will Treat Your Tooth Abscess

Treating your tooth abscess consists of two parts, fighting the bacterial infection and draining the pus from your body’s inflammatory response. For example, antibiotics and an antibacterial mouthwash may be given, and an incision made into the gum to drain the pus away. More severe cases of tooth abscess may need to be treated with a root canal treatment, to remove the abscess, seal off the root before the infection can spread there, and fill in the abscess. If that’s not possible, the entire tooth may be extracted. None of these procedures will hurt, as a local anaesthetic will be applied to numb your mouth, or general anaesthetic to put you under sleep for the more extensive operations.

Why Some People Develop Tooth Abscesses

Though any human mouth has bacteria, poor oral hygiene or an injury can allow bacteria to spread to and infect areas where it shouldn’t. For example, if bacteria are allowed to build up as plaque, the acids they produce can erode away the enamel surface layer of teeth, to expose the dental pulp below. Marsfield Dental Clinic can help you to prevent and treat dental abscesses. If you need a dental check-up, call or book online for your next visit.

Disclaimer – This blog article does not constitute health advice from a dental professional. For more specific information, please seek an appointment with a dentist.

"The information in this website may be simplified in nature and does not replace professional advice. Risks and consequences may apply to any treatment. Always seek a second opinion when considering complex treatment. A referral to a specialist may be required in certain situations. Quotations can only be given after proper clinical assessment and so pricing details cannot be given over the phone."

COVID 19 Update - Oct 2021

 All our members of staff - Dentists and supporting assistants - are fully vaccinated. We are a COVID-safe practice and we are open for all general dental treatment needs and services.