General Dentistry: What Is an Abscessed Tooth?

Posted on: June 17, 2019

general dentistry Des Moines, WA

General dentistry can offer a lot of solutions to your dental needs. If you are suffering from an abscessed tooth, you may notice that your mouth hurts or is easily irritated. If this happens, you should see a dentist as soon as possible.

General dentistry for an abscessed tooth

When the infection is inside the tooth, it is normally caused by a dying or already dead tooth nerve. A tooth abscess will show up at the tip of the root of the infected tooth. It can then spread to the surrounding bone. It is important not to ignore it.

Symptoms of an abscessed tooth

Some symptoms a patient might feel include a severe toothache that may radiate to the jaw, ear or neck and tooth sensitivity to hot and cold beverages or to chewing. Patients may also develop a fever or present with swelling in the cheek, face or the lymph nodes on the neck and jaw.

The patient’s gums may be swollen and red. If the abscessed tooth ruptures, the patient might have a sudden rush of foul-tasting and smelling discharge in the mouth and an open and draining tooth. If the abscess is not treated with general dentistry, the patient may notice increased and severe pain.

Diagnosing an abscessed tooth

When a patient first suspects an abscessed tooth, they should immediately call the dentist. Patients should try to schedule an urgent appointment as the need for immediate treatment is vital. If left untreated for too long, the infection can spread to the patient’s jaw.

The dentist will examine the patient and find the abscessed tooth. It might require an X-ray or even a CT scan to pinpoint the location of the abscess and find out if the infection has begun to spread.

Treatment for an abscessed tooth

Once the dentist has found the abscess, they may recommend endodontic surgery or root canal treatment. The dentist will remove all bacteria from the inside of the tooth and then clean it, shape it, fill the root canals and finally seal the tooth. The patient will need to visit the dentist again for a crown or restoration of the tooth. This is to make sure the tooth is fully protected and restored to its original functionality.

Sometimes, the dentist will be unable to save the abscessed tooth. If this is the case, the dentist will extract the infected tooth and drain the abscess to get rid of any lingering infection. A dentist may prescribe antibiotics if the infection has spread or if the patient has a compromised immune system.

At-home pain relief

While a patient waits for a dental appointment, there are a few things at home that may help. Avoiding hot and cold beverages can help reduce the amount of discomfort. Consumption of sugary and acidic foods and drinks should also be limited. Patients can also floss between the painful teeth to remove leftover food and plaque to help reduce pain. Rinsing with saltwater a few times a day may also relieve tooth pain.

General dentistry can help

If you have a toothache, make an appointment as soon as possible. An abscessed tooth will not just go away on its own. You can save yourself a lot of days or weeks of pain by visiting your dentist and receiving proper treatment. Whether that is pulling the tooth or having a root canal, your dentist can recommend the right option for you.

Request an appointment here: or call Des Moines Dental Center at (206) 408-8541 for an appointment in our Des Moines office.

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