Dental abscesses are pus pockets that form when bacteria are able to take up residence within the pulp of a tooth or in the gums. There are multiple types of an abscess, but they all share one thing in common, they’re often excruciatingly painful. Even without pain, abscesses pose a serious risk to your oral and overall health, and if left unattended, can ultimately lead to dental extraction becoming necessary. They can also result in bone loss in advanced cases. While a serious dental health concern, there are treatment options available to handle abscesses when they occur.
Different Types of Dental Abscess
When you hear talk about abscesses, they’re typically referring to those that occur at the base of the tooth in the gum line. This form of an abscess is known as a periapical abscess and is one of two different forms that generally occur. The second form is known as a periodontal abscess and generally appears on the side of the gums. As the most common form of an abscess, the rest of this article will focus on periapical abscesses.
Symptoms of Dental Abscesses
There are a variety of common symptoms that can be identified when abscesses are present. While many of them can be the result of other conditions, when multiple of them occur together, the odds that you’re dealing with an abscess go up. If you’re experiencing multiple symptoms from this list, it’s time to make an appointment with your dentist.
- Toothache that is throbbing, severe, and persistent or that radiates throughout the ear, jawbone, and neck.
- Dental temperature sensitivity
- Discomfort from pressure when biting or chewing
- Cheek or face swelling
- Swollen lymph nodes that are tender and appear in the neck or jawbones
- Trouble with swallowing or breathing
- A burst of foul-tasting, salty fluid in the mouth along with a foul-smell caused when the abscess ruptures.
These are common symptoms of an abscess, though they can become more severe as time goes on. Left unattended, an abscess can rupture into the bloodstream and cause the beginnings of sepsis. Abscesses can become life-threatening without proper treatment.
What Creates A Risk Of Abscesses
Abscesses are typically the result of poor dental hygiene, though there are other situations that can lead to their development. This is part of the reason why it’s essential that you maintain good oral hygiene practices on a daily basis. If you’re eating a diet that’s high in sugar, you may also experience difficulty with abscesses as an outcome of the acids they contain. Dry mouth resulting from aging, medication, or exercise can also be directly responsive.
This is just a brief introduction to dental abscesses and their risks. If you’re concerned that you may be experiencing symptoms associated with an abscess, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your oral health provider. Left unattended abscesses put you at risk for greater complications, so don’t wait to call and schedule your next oral health appointment! You may just save your tooth from an extraction!