What is a Dental Abscess?
A dental abscess, tooth abscess or root abscess is a collection or accumulation of pus (infected material) due to a bacterial infection in the center of a tooth. There are three types of dental abscesses, a gingival abscess (infected gums), a periodontal abscess (infected bone), or a periapical abscess (infected tooth). A gingival abscess (infected gums) is an abscess is in the gums and doesn’t affect the tooth. A periodontal abscess (infected bone) is an abscess in the bone tissue and structures of the teeth. A periapical abscess (infected tooth) is an abscess that begins in the soft pulp of the tooth.
What Causes a Dental Abscess?
- Dental abscesses often occur in people who have not seen a dentist for many years because they are afraid to go to the dentist.
- Bad oral hygiene practices (not brushing your teeth)
- Trauma to the mouth or teeth (if you get hit in the face and mouth area and a tooth becomes loosened or chipped)
- Obstructions in the salivary glands
Signs and Symptoms of a Dental Abscess:
- Pain when biting on that tooth
- Sensitivity to hot and cold foods and liquids
- Swelling or redness of the gums (swollen mouth or swollen gums)
- A bad taste in your mouth
- Gingivitis – a bad odor coming from your mouth
- Hard to open or close your mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulties sleeping
Risk Factors of a Dental Abscess:
- Avoiding the dentist and bad oral hygiene practices
- Not seeking dental help if there has been trauma to the mouth or teeth
- Alcohol or drug abuse
Caring For Your Dental Abscess
- Avoid very hot or cold food and drink
- Eat cool, soft foods using the opposite side of your mouth from the abscess
- Use a soft toothbrush and avoid flossing around the affected tooth