Do you have a very intense toothache, and do you notice swelling or redness in the mouth or face? Although you can apply some basic home remedies to temporarily relieve pain, it is urgent that you consult a dentist. These discomforts can be symptoms of a dental abscess, and if you do not remedy it quickly, it may become a serious health problem.
The pangs in the mouth do not let you sleep, your gums are red and swollen and you even feel feverish. Because of the symptoms, it could be a dental abscess, a painful condition that should be treated by the dentist as soon as possible. This time, the treatment will take time, but with experience you will learn that it is best to avoid it with proper oral hygiene. Here we explain what it consists of.
Tooth abscess is a painful infection that starts at the root of a tooth or between the gum and the teeth, and can spread to the mouth, face, jaw, or throat. The most common cause of these abscesses is the growth of bacteria in a poorly attended caries, which can pass to the soft tissues and bones of the face and neck. It can also be due to trauma to the teeth or to gingivitis or gum disease.
An infected tooth that has not received proper care can cause an abscess. Poor oral hygiene (such as not brushing teeth or not using dental floss) is one of the causes of tooth decay. The bacterium of the caries extends sometimes to the gums, the cheeks, and the throat or under the tongue, and can even reach the jaw or the facial bones (of the face).
The infection fills with pus, and becomes progressively more painful as the tissues swell. The pain subsides when the abscess opens on its own and the pus comes out, or when the dentist drains it surgically. But sometimes, the infection develops to the point where inflammation blocks the airways, and causes difficulty in breathing. In these more severe cases, the abscess causes fever, vomiting, sweating, nausea and malaise.
What are the signs of an abscess?
It could be an abscess if you notice the following symptoms:
- Severe and continuous pain, sometimes in the form of strong punctures.
- Inflammation of the mouth or gum
- Redness of the mouth and face.
- Great sensitivity of the teeth to heat or cold.
- Pain when chewing or touching the infected area.
- Inflammation of the neck ganglia.
- Bitter taste in the mouth and bad breath.
- An open sore from which pus comes.
- Inflammation in the area of the upper or lower jaws.
- Difficulty opening the mouth or swallowing.
- General discomfort.
- Shaking chills.
What you can do to have a momentary relief:
If you have tooth decay or you feel toothache, you could take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkiller, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve). So improve inflammation and pain, as long as you have no contraindication to take it, like you have have ulcers in the stomach. If you have doubts, consult your doctor.
If the abscess opens alone, rinse your mouth with warm salt water to clean it and to help drain the pus.
Be careful, you have to go to the dentist.
If the infection persists and the pain is very intense and it is not relieved by over-the-counter analgesics, go to the dentist right away. However, sometimes the root of the affected tooth dies as a result of the infection and the pain stops. But still, anyway, you must go to the dentist (although you do not feel pain, the infection can remain active and continues to spread and destroy the tissues). And if the pain is intolerable and you feel short of breath or swallowing, or if you have a fever, chills, nausea or diarrhea, you should also consult the doctor.
If the abscess does not open itself, it is very likely that the dentist will have to make an incision (cut) for the pus to come out, and you may need antibiotics to fight the infection. Follow-up visits are important to check that everything is going well. The goals of treatment are to eliminate all infection, preserve the tooth and prevent complications. To achieve them, you may need other therapies such as endodontic or root canal treatment (which involves removing the pulp from the tooth that contains the nerve and its vessels and sealing the canal) in order to save the tooth or, if not It is possible, sometimes it is required the extraction (that they take you out) of the damaged tooth.
In any case, it is essential that you seek medical help as soon as possible. If the pus is not completely eliminated, and the infection extends to the lower part of the mouth or neck, it can affect the respiratory tract and make it difficult or impossible to breathe, thus constituting a threat to life.
How to prevent dental abscess.
Prevention plays an important role in keeping your teeth healthy. Brushing and flossing daily reduce the risk of tooth decay and abscesses. You should also seek quick professional attention if you hit the teeth that result in someone breaking, splintering, loosening or flaking the enamel.
And regular visits to the dentist are essential for a good mouth check. Do not forget that a caries, however small, should be treated right away to prevent an abscess from developing. It is the best way to maintain your oral health, which is an important part of general health.