Cavities are bad enough. A dental abscess is like a larger, infected cavity. Dental abscesses typically develop from unattended cavities. The cavity acts as a haven for different bacteria. These bacteria multiply and eat at the tooth, causing decay. However, an abscess can also occur during an injury. The exposed area becomes vulnerable to the bacteria. Gingivitis and age can also allow bacteria to develop and rot the tooth.
Preventing a Dental Abscess
The first step in preventing a dental abscess is proper dental hygiene. This means brushing your teeth two times a day and flossing after every meal. Proper dental hygiene also requires biannual dental checkups and upgrading to a new toothbrush every 4 months.
Signs of a Dental Abscess
- severe pain
- sensitivity to temperature
- swelling of the gums, jaw, or neck
- active sores in the mouth
Curing an Abscess
The first thing your dentist will do to cure your abscess is help you fight the infection. To do this, he will likely prescribe antibiotics and possibly drain the infected area. The medicine can be administered through injection or a laser. While providing a cleaner area for the dentist to work on, it may not eliminate the bacterial problem entirely. To drain the rest of the infection, the dentist may decide to perform a root canal or an extraction.
Unfortunately, when unattended, a dental abscess may result in severe root damage. This occurs when the infection has made its way into the living portion of your tooth, known as the pulp. You will then likely be scheduling a root canal. During the root canal, the doctor will remove the infected portions of the pulp. He will then use a cap to secure the tooth.
If the infection has made the tooth unsalvageable, the doctor may decide to remove or extract your tooth. After the infection is removed and the gums are restored, an implant will be put in its place. Restoring the damaged gums typically requires grafting surgery if the root canal is insufficient.
To keep your smile looking its best, you should take preventative care seriously. However, when your dental hygiene schedule has failed or trauma occurs, your dentist can take the right steps to keep you smiling.
Be sure to get your teeth checked out at your local dentist regularly to ensure you don’t have any potential abscesses in the making. This will save you a lot of time and hassle in the long run.