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?
The dentistry expert will conduct a physical examination looking for signs of cavity or tooth abscess. An x-ray and a CT scan are recommended to understand the severity of the condition.
HOW IS TOOTH ABSCESS TREATED?
The goal of the treatment is to get completely rid of the infection. This may require draining out the pus from the abscess. Based on the severity, a root canal treatment may be needed in some cases while in some, root canal treatment is advised.
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.