An abscessed tooth occurs when an infection that has spread in or around the root. These infections happen when teeth loose their ability to fight off harmful bacteria. This results in an invasion of the pulp chamber – the centre of the tooth. When the pulp chamber is infected, pus develops from a buildup of white blood cells, bacteria and tissue debris. This causes swelling and places more pressure on the verves and blood vessels. Tooth abscesses can form very quickly, often within days of getting an infection.
A tooth abscess differs from a gum abscess as it originates from the pulp of the tooth and exits through the root. Gum abscesses form a pocket inside the gum, but outside of the tooth, often close to the root. While treatment will depend on the location of the abscess and severity of the condition, root canal treatment or a tooth extraction may be required.
Fighting the Infection
The first stage of treatment is to fight off the infection. In most circumstances, draining the fluid and taking oral antibiotics will suffice; however, seeking aid from an emergency dentist at a place like Bath Street Dental Practice is recommended if you are suffering from a fever or experiencing severe swelling. Sometimes infections can cause little or no pain. However, if they are left untreated, they could damage the surrounding teeth and bone.
Undergoing a Root Canal
When the infection has been cleared, your dentist will assess whether a root canal procedure is necessary. During a root canal, the pulp chamber and associated canals are cleaned, disinfected and sealed. Depending on the severity of the abscess and level of decay, a crown may be required to strengthen the tooth. If, however, the tooth cannot be restored with a root canal, the tooth must be extracted.
Using Home Remedies
While home remedies are not recommended as a sole form of treatment, they can relieve symptoms. If suffering from severe pain, rinse your mouth with warm saltwater mixed with baking soda – this will help to draw out the pus and reduce swelling – or press a moist teabag over the abscess. In addition, take over-the-counter pain killers, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol.
Dental abscesses are always serious and should be addressed as soon as possible, as infections can easily spread beyond the mouth and into other parts of the body. If you are experiencing pain or suffering from cold or flu-like symptoms as a result of a tooth abscess, consult an emergency dentist immediately.