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Tooth Abscess: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

May 28, 2021
Out of all diseases that affect oral health, tooth abscess is one of the most painful conditions and can cause great discomfort. The pain usually tends to be throbbing and continuous, making it difficult to even eat or drink.

Out of all diseases that affect oral health, tooth abscess is one of the most painful conditions and can cause great discomfort. The pain usually tends to be throbbing and continuous, making it difficult to even eat or drink.

Diagnosis of tooth abscess

A tooth abscess is a bacterial infection that leads to a pus pocket formation in the gums. It occurs when bacteria infect the tooth cavity and cause the gum tissues to degrade.

Three most common types of tooth abscess:

  • Periapical abscess – This form of abscess occurs in the tooth’s root, in the alveolar bone.
  • Gingival abscess – This infection affects the gum tissue lining the teeth, causing the gums to swell and pain.
  • Periodontal abscess – The abscess is formed in the gum pockets, where bacteria can grow and potentially spread to the surrounding tissue.

Symptoms of Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess is extremely painful, and you may feel a sharp pain in your gums or near the affected tooth. Following are a few other symptoms you might experience: 

  • Swollen gums
  • Fever
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty in eating or drinking
  • Restlessness
  • Foul taste in the mouth
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Pain across the ear, neck, or jaw

Causes of Tooth Abscess

Lack of good oral hygiene makes your mouth prone to a lot of bacteria. It is the main cause of most oral diseases, including dental plaque, which can lead to a tooth abscess. 

  • Tooth decay – Poor oral health and unhealthy food choices can cause dental plaque, further leading to tooth decay. If left untreated, tooth decay can cause tooth abscess. 
  • Gum infection – Infection in the gum, gum tissue, or in the pockets between the teeth and the gum can also lead to a tooth abscess. 
  • Infection after dental treatment – Infections after dental procedures like root canals, implants, and extractions can cause tooth abscess.

Treatment of Tooth Abscess

Your dentist will first evaluate the pain and severity of the abscess and then accordingly suggest treatment. The condition, if not severe, could be treated with antibiotics. However, if antibiotics fail, the next course of action would be a root canal to save the tooth. If the root canal also proves to be ineffective in removing the infection, and if the infection returns, or if the condition of the tooth is exceptionally bad, your dentist will have to get your tooth extracted. 

Prevention of Tooth Abscess

Maintaining good oral health is the key to avoid tooth abscess. Following are a few helpful tips to prevent this condition from occurring:

  • Make healthy dietary choices
  • Avoid sugary and starchy foods
  • Floss and brush your teeth regularly – ideally, twice a day
  • Visit your dentist at least once every six months
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste

Follow good oral hygiene and be regular with your dental appointments for proper dental care. If you are looking for the best dentist in West Des Moines, get in touch with our expert dentists at the Plaza Dental Group.

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