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The dangers of ignoring an abscessed tooth

No one wants to think about a tooth abscess let alone have one.  They are wildly uncomfortable and often lead to dental procedures that don’t exactly spark a cause for celebration. If an abscessed tooth is left untreated it can cause problems that extend well passed the problem tooth.

What is an abscessed tooth?

An abscessed tooth is a painful infection that is usually located at the root of the tooth or between the tooth and gums. Generally, abscessed teeth are caused by serious dental decay, but they can also be caused by trauma, gingivitis or gum disease. When your tooth abscesses, bacteria infect the center of the tooth, causing rapid decay and intense pain. Abscesses in teeth can spread to surrounding bone and cause life-threatening complications. 

When the decay manages to crack your tooth’s enamel, it lets in bacteria into the pulp of your tooth. When the pulp gets infected, your immune system tries to fight it with white blood cells. This results in pus and tissue accumulate in a small area. If left untreated, the infection will end up spreading until it reaches your gums, increasing the pain even more. The only way to address the pain is to visit a reliable Lafayette Louisiana dentist like Dr. Chauvin and undergo treatment. In some cases, dentists will be able to save the tooth with a root canal treatment, but may need to be pulled depending on the condition of the tooth.

Symptoms of an abscessed tooth

A severe and continuous toothache with a throbbing pain is a very good indicator that you may have an abscessed tooth.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Pain when chewing
  • Sensitivity of the teeth to hot or cold
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Foul smell to the breath
  • Swollen neck glands
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling
  • Redness and swelling of the gums
  • Swollen area of the upper or lower jaw
  • An open, draining sore on the side of the gum

 

Treating an abscessed tooth

A abscessed tooth won’t just go away without treatment. Even if the abscess disperses, bursts or drains and the pain stops, you still need professional dental treatment. 

Common treatments by Dr. Chauvin for tooth abscesses consist of the following:

  • Draining the abscess, eradicating and stopping the spread of infection, preserving the tooth (whenever possible) and preventing complications.
  • Antibiotics to kill the germs responsible for tooth abscesses, helping the body to repair the tooth and bone. Dr. Chauvin usually prescribes tooth abscess antibiotics after X-rays have been reviewed to confirm that you have an infection. Tooth abscess antibiotics normally are effective in controlling the abscess; most of the symptoms will be alleviated within two days, and the tooth abscess typically will heal after five days of antibiotic treatment.
  • If an abscess erupts by itself, warm salt-water rinses will soothe, help clean the mouth and encourage drainage until you are able to see your dentist. Your dentist also may recommend them during the treatment recovery time to alleviate discomfort and promote healing.
  • Painkillers such as ibuprofen help alleviate discomfort while the area is healing.
  • Root canals
  • Extraction of infected tooth

The best way to avoid getting an abscess is by practicing great dental hygiene, and having regular dental cleanings and check-ups.  But even though you may have the most awesome, dental hygiene, things happen and there just may be no way to avoid it. 

Just remember, if you are having a toothache, please don’t hesitate to call Dr. Chauvin’s office.  Even if the toothache has gone away, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are out of the woods.  We would love to help you get rid of your pain.