The word ‘abscess’ strikes a note of fear in our minds, and rightly so.
A dental abscess is a collection of pus that forms inside the teeth or gums. It is caused by a bacterial infection which could come from plaque or saliva and attack the teeth or gums. Pain is the main symptom, often accompanied by swelling, fever and chills. The skin over the swelling feels warm and there may be difficulty to swallow or to open the mouth.
The dentist has to find out the source and cause of the abscess.
When only the gums are affected, it is called a gingival abscess. This often occurs when you pick your teeth with a foreign object or when food gets jammed between teeth.
If a tooth is attacked by dental caries that is untreated or if there is an injury, the nerve of the tooth can get infected to form a periapical abscess. This can start suddenly or develop over a period of time. The tooth is usually sensitive to temperature and is painful to bite on. The treatment in such cases would be root canal therapy.
A periodontal abscess occurs when gum fibres attached to the tooth and bone tissue is affected. There may be a loosening of the tooth itself and an X-ray will show spaces between the teeth and gums called pockets.
Antibiotics are usually prescribed for an abscess to prevent infection from spreading. Emergency measures are started either by draining the abscess either from the gum or the tooth root.
It is imperative to attend to an abscess as quickly as possible as it could lead to complications like cysts, bone infections and spread of the infections to the floor of the mouth or to sinuses.
Abscesses respond rapidly to a well formulated treatment protocol.
Your dentist will come to your rescue!