A dental emergency means that you should seek out professional oral care as soon as you can. Emergencies can vary in their severity and one of the more serious oral health issues involves an abscessed tooth. If you have never had an abscess issue and want to know more about what it is and how your dentist will treat it, keep reading.
What Is A Dental Abscess?
An abscess develops when tissues in the body become infected by bacteria. Once the infection develops, the body reacts to it and white blood cells infiltrate the region. This causes inflammation and debris starts to collect in the area as bacteria die. A ball of pus then forms that can protrude through the tissues. When the mass forms inside a tooth or within the gum tissues, it is referred to as a dental abscess. A tooth abscess will often form at the root of a tooth and it called a periapical abscess. When it develops within the gums, it is called a periodontal abscess.
Both of the abscesses are considered dangerous and require emergency care. This is true for a few reasons. Without treatment, the infection will continue, worsen, and spread. Also, since the infectious bacteria are located within the mouth, there are some risks of the microorganisms moving through the bloodstream to the neck, head, and heart. Also, without treatment, a tooth can deteriorate significantly and this can create a great deal of pain.
How Is An Abscess Addressed?
There are few different types of treatments for abscessed teeth and they depend on the extent of the infection as well as the location of it. If the infection is within the gums and the abscess is located close to the surface, then your dentist will perforate and drain the abscess. This is done in a careful manner to ensure that the pus and bacteria do not enter the mouth. The area is rinsed with saline and you will be provided with a prescription for antibiotics.
If the abscess is located within the tooth or along the root, then a root canal may be performed. Since all of the internal tissues are forced out of the tooth, your dentist will fill the open cavity. This may be completed at the same time as the root canal or at a later date when a regular dental appointment can be scheduled.
In severe cases, your dentist may need to extract the tooth. However, this will only happen if the dental professional feels as though the tooth cannot be saved.
Speak with your dentist about abscesses if you think that you may have an oral infection or dental emergency.