What Is a Dental Abscess, and How is it Treated?

One of the least desired dental conditions is the dreaded dental abscess, and not just in the Smokey Point or Marysville, WA areas. This is an incredibly painful condition, as an abscess will usually press on the sensitive nerves of your mouth and teeth, causing throbbing.  Abscesses can happen anywhere, but dental caries (cavities) increase the risk. As many as a quarter of adults have untreated tooth decay, which means abscesses are a risk for many people.

How Do They Happen?

Dental abscesses are the caused by bacteria. They build up in plaque and tartar, and they can get into a puncture wound, under your teeth, or inside your gums through tooth decay or another injury. There, they build as your immune system attempts to fight the infection, leaving a sac of pus.
Dental abscesses also commonly occur inside the pulp of an infected or decaying tooth. This applies pressure to the dental nerves that cannot be ignored.
These infections are dangerous, as they can spread into the jaw, into other teeth, and eventually, into the bloodstream. It’s important to treat them quickly to avoid further complications. You will also feel much better after having an abscess removed.
There are two types of abscesses. A periapical abscess happens in the root of the tooth, while a periodontal abscess grows in the gums, near a tooth’s root. A gingival abscess can happen when a piece of food gets stuck in your gums. All types can be painful.  Symptoms include radiating pain which worsens with chewing and lying down, as well as gum swelling, a bad taste, bad breath, and possibly swollen lymph nodes with fever. Abscesses can also cause your affected tooth to feel loose, and can cause swelling in your face around the affected area.

How It’s Treated

The good news is that as soon as an abscess is treated and drained, relief is immediate.  Just like any abscess, the treatment for the dental variety involves first draining out the infection and treating with antibiotics. Your dentist will be able to make an incision to drain the pus, before cleaning the area with a saline solution.
Once the abscess is removed, or if the abscess must be accessed by drilling into your tooth, your dentist may perform a root canal, in which he or she will drill into the tooth to remove the infection. Once finished, they will likely place a crown on your tooth to prevent any further problems. This may take a couple of appointments—one for the root canal and one for the crown.  If your tooth is highly damaged, your dentist may also extract the tooth, sometimes removing the infection at the same time.
For gingival abscesses, the treatment is simply to remove a foreign object from your gums and drain the abscess. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to treat any remaining infection.

Need More Help? Reach Out Today

Here at Seven Lakes Dental, we’re here not only to ease your dental troubles, but to make sure your visit feels like coming home to relax. Our staff want to put you at ease so you can get the treatment you need. If you’re in the Marysville or Smokey Point, WA areas, reach out today.