A dental abscess is an infection of the mouth that causes severe stabbing pain, sometimes accompanied with a high fever that is impossible to ignore. An abscess can spread to the alveolar bone and it can originate from different causes: a dead tooth, tooth decay, periodontitis, bacterial disease…
Do not wait. We recommend that you consult with a professional as soon as the first symptoms appear by setting up an emergency appointment with your trusted dentist.
When untreated, an abscess can lead to serious complications, not only for the teeth, but also for the whole body (heart, sinusitis, septicemia…). Here is an overview of the causes of dental abscess and the treatments available against this condition.
There can be several causes for toothaches:
Consult as soon as the first symptoms appear and do not hesitate to go to the emergency room if you experience high fever or if you have difficulty eating.
The dental abscess is a bacterial infection that is often painful and it causes swelling of the gum accompanied by a feverish state and chewing difficulty.
When untreated, an abscess main lead to severe complications.
What are the causes of the abscess?
The proliferation of bacteria is the prime cause of an abscess. Most often, an abscess is the result of complications an untreated decayed tooth: this type of abscess is called a periapical abscess. The decay on a tooth can sometimes spread to the central tissue of the tooth (the pulp) and lead to bacterial infection in the dental pulp, and then to necrosis of the pulp, and an abscess (with the presence of pus) if the germs reach the end of the root.
The consequences of a dental abscess
Bacteria and germs accumulate at the root and cause severe pain sometimes accompanied by fever, swelling of nodes in the neck area, nausea, and pus. The pain may radiate to the ear and to the jaw on the side as the affected tooth. The infection can spread to the neighbouring teeth and even enter the bloodstream. In such a case, the dental abscess can lead to serious heart diseases. In more serious cases, there is a risk of septicemia requiring emergency hospitalization.
If the abscess is not treated promptly, it may develop into a “fistulisation”. (See cutaneous fistula.)
Treatment options for an abscess:
- taking antibiotics and pain medication,
- drainage of the infection through the gum,
- root canal treatment for the tooth,
- extraction of the tooth,
- curettage of the alveolar bone and of the infected tissues.
Prevention against dental infection:
- have a good dental hygiene (see advice from a dental hygienist),
- regularly consult with your dentist,
- treat tooth decay from the very beginning,
- replace defective fillings and dental restorations,
- have a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle,
- avoid consuming too much sugar, tobacco, alcohol…
- inform your dentist about diseases, treatments received or medications taken (cholesterol, diabetes, HIV, chemotherapy…)
Periodontal abscess, bacteria pockets
Abcès parodontal, poche à bactéries
A periodontal abscess is an often chronic infection localized in the gum and the alveolar bone. This infection creates a periodontal pocket that translates into a drawing back of the gingiva.
This lesion is an ideal breeding ground for the development and proliferation of bacteria inside the tissues and it may lead to a so-called periodontal abscess. An impacted wisdom tooth may also cause an abscess.
The treatment for a gingival abscess involves cleaning/sanitizing the gingiva and the tooth base (by scaling) and sometimes perform a root planing on the tooth. Sometimes, unfortunately, the only solution is the extraction of the tooth.
Periapical abscess and necrosis of the nerve
A periapical abscess is a purulent abscess at the root level, in the dental pulp and inside the alveolar bone. This abscess is caused by the presence of decay and by the necrosis of the nerve (death of the nerve). The pus propagates then into the gingiva through the dental canal where the blood vessels and the nerves run.
The solutions that are proposed by the dental surgeon for treating the periapical abscess are the root canal treatment or the extraction of the tooth. It is also necessary to prescribe antibiotics in order to kill the bacteria before performing the treatment.
An emergency appointment at your Dental Center David & Cloutier will provide confirmation of this diagnostic through a specific examination and a dental X-ray.
At the first sign of pain, we strongly suggest that you consult with your trusted dentist in Montréal in order to avoid consequences that could be detrimental to your health.