Mann Family Dental
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What Is a Dental Abscess?

April 19, 2016
Posted By: Dr. Russell D. Mann
woman holding jaw from tooth pain

A dental abscess is an infection. When it happens to a tooth, it will be at the root of the tooth or between the gum and the tooth. When your body detects an infection, it sends white blood cells to the area. These white blood cells collect the infected tissue and all of the germs and turn everything into a liquid called pus. The pus builds up and makes the area swollen and painful.

An abscess on your gum is called a periodontal abscess. It is an infection in the space between the gum and your tooth. This occurs next to a living tooth, and is a sign of periodontal disease. Plaque and bacteria end up inside the periodontal pocket and cause the infection.

An abscessed tooth is also called a periapical abscess. This happens inside the tooth at the root, when the nerve is dead or dying. Bacteria forms in the softened pulp of the tooth. This can be from a broken tooth, tooth decay, periodontal disease, or a failed root canal.

In either case, the most prevalent symptom is pain. Another one is bad breath, as well as fever and swollen lymph nodes. A dental abscess won’t go away on its own, so it’s important to take action and get treatment, so you don’t lose any teeth or bone. In extreme cases, when not treated properly, a dental abscess can result in death.

Treatment for a dental abscess
The abscess needs to be drained by a dental professional. The tooth may also need a root canal or to be pulled. Your dentist may also prescribe an antibiotic. The patient can also take ibuprofen to treat the pain, or us an ice pack.

A tooth abscess may be a sign of something serious, like periodontal disease and even bone loss. When you are treated for an abscess, your dentist may also prescribe a treatment plan to keep you from having further complications.

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