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If your gums are red and swollen, you have a toothache or a bitter taste in your mouth; there’s every chance you’re suffering from a tooth abscess.  

A tooth abscess, also called a dental abscess, is a pocket of pus that forms in the teeth or gums and is due to a bacterial infection. It won’t resolve without treatment. Even if an abscess bursts or drains, you still need professional tooth abscess treatment. Why? Because if the abscess is left untreated, the infection could travel to other parts of the body and potentially be life-threatening. 



Tooth abscess treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Here are four common ways a dentist or an emergency dentist can relieve pain and make you feel more comfortable. 



The main goal of a dentist is to eliminate the infection and prevent it from spreading. To achieve this, a dentist will drain the dental abscess. The dentist will make a small incision in the abscess, allowing the pus to drain, before cleaning the area with a saline solution. Sometimes a small rubber drain is used to open the site, enabling the pus to drain freely and the swelling to subside.  


Root canal

This procedure can eliminate the infection and save the tooth. A root canal involves the dentist drilling into the tooth, removing the diseased central pulp, and draining the tooth abscess. The pulp chamber and root canals will be filled and sealed to prevent infection from recurring. Several weeks later, the dentist may cap the weakened tooth with a dental crown to restore strength and functionality. 


Tooth extraction 

If it’s not feasible for the dentist to save the tooth, the only option is extraction. The dentist will pull the tooth and drain the dental abscess to eliminate the infection. 



Tooth abscess treatment may also include antibiotics if the infection has spread to your jaw or neighbouring teeth to prevent it from travelling further. You may also be prescribed antibiotics if you have a weakened immune system. 


The importance of seeking urgent dental care

dentist treat abscess teethIf you delay getting immediate treatment from your dentist, you could suffer severe and costly consequences.  

  • Surgery – If a dental abscess has spread to the neck or floor of the mouth beneath the tongue, it may have to be drained under anaesthesia in the operating room. Furthermore, should the tooth abscess still not heal or enlarges following routine root canal treatment, you may require surgery. 
  • Hospitalisation – Severe tooth and jaw infections and secondary body infections can be life-threatening and require emergency treatment or prolonged hospital care. Reports state that an estimated 18,000 Australians are treated for sepsis annually in intensive care, and almost 5,000 die.


Tooth abscess treatment while you heal 

To stay comfortable while your mouth heals, rinse your mouth regularly with warm salt water to ease any discomfort and soothe sore gums. Painkillers like Ibuprofen can also be taken to alleviate pain and reduce any swelling. 

If you suspect you may have a tooth abscess, contact the friendly dentists at Bondi Beach Dental. We keep hours aside during the day for patients with dental emergencies. Call us on (02) 9365 6197 today or book online.



Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.





Queensland Government – Prevalence of Sepsis




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