Abscess

An abscessed tooth is a painful infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth. It's most commonly caused by severe dental decay.

Other causes of tooth abscess include:

  • Trauma to the tooth, such as when it is broken or chipped
  • Periodontitis
  • Erupting wisdom teeth

These problems can allow bacteria to infect the centre of the tooth (called the pulp). The infection may also spread from the root of the tooth to the bones supporting the tooth.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Pain when chewing
  • Sensitivity of the teeth to hot or cold
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Foul smell to the breath
  • Swollen neck glands
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling
  • Redness and swelling of the gums
  • Swollen area of the upper or lower jaw
  • An open, draining sore on the side of the gum

If the root of the tooth dies as a result of infection, the toothache may stop. However, this doesn't mean the infection has healed; the infection remains active and continues to spread and destroy tissue.

 

Strategies

Strategies to eliminate the infection, preserve the tooth, and prevent complications are the goals of treatment for an abscessed tooth.

  • To eliminate infection, the abscess may need to be drained. Achieving drainage may be done through the tooth by a procedure known as Root Canal Treatment
  • The tooth may also be extracted, allowing drainage through the socket
  • Finally, a third way to drain the abscess would be by incision into the swollen gum tissue.

Antibiotics are usually prescribed to help fight the infection. To relieve the pain and discomfort associated with an abscessed tooth, warm salt-water rinses and over-the-counter pain relief if medically applicable for your case can be used.

If you experience any of the above listed symptoms, consider contacting Adelaide Emergency Dental on 0437 733 350.