An abscessed tooth is one where a bacterial infection has reached the root of the tooth, and a pocket of pus has formed. Dental abscesses generally progress through four stages and must be treated by an emergency dentist to make sure the infection heals properly and doesn’t spread.
What are the tooth abscess stages?
Plaque buildup in the mouth provides the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. If left untreated, this can lead to pus formation and a dental abscess. Not brushing your teeth enough can cause plaque to build up on your gums and tooth surfaces. Acid can corrode tooth enamel and cause decay, which in turn forms cavities in the teeth.
If you don’t go to the dentist immediately, bacteria will continue to eat through your enamel and get into your tooth’s dentin.
Tooth pulp infection
Once the bacteria have eaten through the dentin layer, they will enter the inner tooth pulp. When this happens, bacteria can take control of the tooth’s nerves, causing them to die. The body’s immune system starts to attack the infection when this occurs. Pus accumulates around the roots that are dying, causing an abscess.
By the time you experience discomfort or pain, it’s likely that a dental abscess has already occurred. You should visit your dentist as quickly as possible at this stage. The abscess has grown to a point where it’s become dangerous and should be tended to as soon as possible. An untreated dental abscess can worsen and even lead to bone loss and tooth loss.
What are the types of tooth abscesses?
- Gingival abscess. It affects the gum tissue, not the tooth or periodontal ligament.
- Periodontal abscess. It is an infection that starts in the bones around your teeth.
- Periapical abscess. It begins in the tooth’s soft pulp.
What are tooth abscess symptoms?
If you have an abscessed tooth, you might experience the following symptoms:
- A throbbing toothache that can spread to the ear, jaw, or neck
- A swollen jaw or swollen glands
- A fever
- A foul taste in your mouth that lingers despite rinsing, flossing, and brushing
- Sensitivity to cold or hot foods in the affected area
- Swollen red gums
Rinse with a saline solution to decrease inflammation and keep your mouth clean.
How to treat an abscessed tooth?
The objective of dental abscess treatment is to save the tooth. Yet, depending on which stage of a tooth abscess you are in, different strategies may need to be used. Depending on the results of your initial consultation, your treatment plan might comprise a combination of the following:
- Root canal treatment to save the tooth and avoid having to get a replacement.
- In some cases, an abscessed tooth cannot be saved and will need to be extracted.
- Antibiotics to help fight the tooth infection – To prevent the infection from worsening or spreading, antibiotics are typically taken after a root canal treatment or tooth extraction.
- Draining the infected abscess – An abscess usually needs to be drained, but sometimes it will burst on its own.
Get relief from tooth abscess pain at Bondi Beach Dental
At Bondi Beach Dental, we are committed to the long-term dental health of our patients and can assist you with treatment for a dental abscess. We can provide you with a full tooth abscess treatment plan as well as tooth extractions where necessary. Early intervention is key to preventing further tooth decay and preserving your tooth. Let us help you get the best possible outcome for your teeth! Contact us today at (02) 9365 6197 to book your appointment.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
What to know about the stages of tooth decay and abscesses
What Is an Abscessed Tooth?