A dental abscess, or tooth abscess, is an accumulation of pus that forms inside the teeth or gums. The abscess typically originates from a bacterial infection, often one that has accumulated in the soft pulp of the tooth. Bacteria exist in plaque, a by-product of food, saliva and bacteria in the mouth which sticks to the teeth and damages them, as well as the gums. Signs and symptoms of a dental abscess include:
• Pain in the affected area when biting
• Touching the affected area may be painful
• Sensitivity to cold or hot food and liquids
• A foul taste in the patient's mouth
• General malaise (the patient feels generally unwell)
• Trismus - the patient finds it harder to open his/her mouth
• Dysphagia - swallowing difficulties
HOW IS TOOTH ABSCESS DIAGNOSED?
A Dentist diagnoses Tooth Abscess by examining the tooth and surrounding area and performing a complete dental examination. An X-ray of the aching tooth can help identify a Tooth Abscess.
HOW IS TOOTH ABSCESS TREATED?
Dental abscesses are treated by removing the source of the infection and draining away the pus. Depending on the location of the abscess and how severe the infection is, possible treatments include:
• removing the affected tooth (extraction) – this may be necessary if root canal treatment isn't possible
• root canal treatment – a procedure to remove the abscess from the root of an affected tooth before filling and sealing it
• incision and drainage – where a small cut (incision) is made in the gum to drain the
DID YOU KNOW?
There are three types of dental abscess:
• Gingival abscess - the abscess is only in the gum tissue and does not affect the tooth or the periodontal ligament.
• Periodontal abscess - this abscess starts in the supporting bone tissue structures of the teeth.
• Periapical abscess - this abscess commences in the soft pulp of the tooth.