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.
The three types of dental abscesses:
Gingival abscess (infected gums) – abscess is in the gums and doesn’t affect the tooth
Periodontal abscess (infected bone) – abscess in the bone tissue and structures of the teeth.
Periapical abscess (infected tooth) – abscess begins in the soft pulp of the tooth.
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
What causes a dental abscess?
• 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
Caring for your tooth
To limit the pain and pressure on your dental abscess you should:
- 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
Fear of the dentist
Dental abscesses often occur in people who have not seen a dentist for many years because they are afraid to go to the dentist.
Being afraid of the dentist can have a number of possible causes, such as the thought that treatment will hurt, or the sounds and smells bringing back memories of bad experiences during childhood.
The good news is that most dentists understand their patients’ fears, and they are able to make dental treatment as painless and as stress free as possible.
Over the years, advances in technology have also improved dentistry significantly. Nowadays, treatment is often completely painless.