Why is Dental Abscess an Emergency?
There are two types of dental abscesses – a gum or periodontal abscess, which occurs in the space between the tooth and gum, and a tooth abscess, which occurs inside the tooth. A dental abscess is an infection caused by severe tooth decay, where the irritated area invites bacteria that cause the infection.
The abscess is the barrier that forms around the infection and keeps the pus or bacteria from spreading around the mouth. Like other abscesses that form in other areas of the body, a gum or tooth abscess is a dental emergency. Why? Let’s find out.
How Serious Are Dental Abscesses?
An abscess is not really the enemy. It serves as your body’s defence against a bacterial infection. It holds the pus or the thick, yellowish fluid inside the abscess. But, it must be taken seriously and treated appropriately to prevent the infection from spreading.
In most cases, dental abscesses are symptoms of severe tooth decay. The abscess may only take a few days to swell up and cause severe pain and sensitivity. It progresses very quickly, and if left untreated, the infection can last for months or years.
Abscesses require immediate attention by an emergency dentist alone. Treating it yourself is very risky and may cause the infection to spread. In serious cases, the infection may destroy tissue or spread to the root of the tooth and the jaw supporting the tooth. Many problems will arise, from severe tooth pain to extreme sensitivity and discomfort, from fever to swelling of the gum.
How Are They Treated?
Bear in mind that the abscess is not the one being treated, but the infection. But to treat the infection, your dentist will have to treat the abscess and drain the pus thoroughly. Once the abscess and pus are treated, the infection will remain active.
If the tooth decay is severe, a root canal or extraction can help drain the abscess and heal the infection. The dentist may also put the patient on an antibiotic therapy to reduce the infection and to keep the infection from neutralising the effects of local anaesthetics.
If you are experiencing tooth pain, sensitivity or any other irritation in the gums and teeth, you may have an abscess. Don’t ignore the pain or the swelling, call your dentist right away before it gets worse.