When a cavity or tooth injury (such as a chip or crack) goes undiscovered, or ignored you can end up with something called an abscessed tooth. Any opening in your tooth enamel provides a gateway for bacteria to infiltrate the dentin and travel through to the pulp of your tooth, below the gumline. When the roots become infected, bacteria can spread into the bones that support the tooth, and possibly beyond. This is why the ideal goal is to avoid an abscess altogether. If you should end up with one, however, Pella general dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Allen, will tell you what to look for and expect.
Description of an Abscess
A sharp, throbbing, nagging, continuous toothache is generally the main symptom of an abscessed tooth. Other possible symptoms include unusual breath odor, pain when chewing or biting down, a bitter taste in your mouth, fever, generally feeling ill, temperature sensitivities with teeth, swelling on the gums by the infected tooth, swollen jaw, and swollen glands. Many people mistake abscessed teeth for sinus infections because the areas are so close, and the pain can feel similar.
Diagnosis of an Abscess
To diagnose an abscess, your Pella general dentist will start by doing a close examination of teeth, mouth, and gums. You may be so sensitive that you feel pain even when the dentist simply taps your tooth. X-rays will possibly be ordered to see the extent of the damage. One tell-tale sign would be swollen and/or red gums. Gum tissue may actually have pus draining from the site of the abscess.
Treatment of an Abscess
The main goal of treatment will be to cure the infection in the hopes of saving the tooth. If the abscess is caught soon enough antibiotics might be enough to fight the infection. Rinsing with warm salt-water and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can dull the discomfort during healing. In some cases, a root canal procedure may be recommended. Unfortunately, severe abscesses may require surgical drainage and full tooth extraction.
Contact Your Pella General Dentist
Dr. Jeffrey Allen, your general dentist in Pella, provides comfortable dental care to patients of all ages. Call (641) 628-1121 today to schedule an appointment. We are located on the west side of the historic town square in Pella, IA. Please see the map for directions.