A tooth abscess is a serious dental emergency. Many people don’t know the symptoms of a dental abscess or treatment. Instead, they go from experiencing mild sensitivity to heat and cold to debilitating toothache pain within just a few hours without any idea what to do next. What anyone who has ever had a tooth abscess will tell you is that waiting to see a dentist at 9 am on Monday morning isn’t going to work. If you’re experiencing a tooth abscess, you need help right away. Unfortunately, most dental offices just don’t offer treatment outside of the regular 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday hours. That means patients either muddle through until they can get an appointment, or they end up spending way too much money and time having the tooth abscess treated in an emergency room. That’s why McCarl Dental Group decided to do things a little differently. We offer emergency dentistry solutions whenever our patients need us because we believe no one deserves to spend hours in pain. If you need emergency dental care, don’t wait for 9 am to call our dental office. Reach out now.
What is a Dental Abscess?
A dental abscess is a pus producing infection. White blood cells are the infection fighting soldiers of our blood stream. If the cells lose the battle fighting an infection, pus forms. Dental pus causes pressure in your teeth or gums and can cause extreme dental pain. An infection in the tooth and pulp of the tooth is treated differently than an infection in the gums, which is called a periodontal abscess. A periodontal abscess involves gums and can weaken the bony structure supporting the teeth and can lead to loss of your teeth. Dental abscesses are best treated with direct drainage and then with antibiotics.
What Causes a Tooth Abscess?
An abscess occurs when bacteria in the mouth accumulate between the tooth and the gums or inside of the tooth’s inner layer of soft tissue called pulp. These infections can occur due to untreated tooth decay or gum disease, or when a tooth has microscopic cracks that allow bacteria to accumulate in large numbers. When a tooth is abscessed, the infection will spread to surrounding bone and gum tissue, and it can lead to whole body health concerns.
What are the Symptoms of Tooth Abscess?
In most cases, tooth abscess begins as a mild pain when biting down or minor sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages, but it can escalate quickly to extreme discomfort and other symptoms of infection. You should contact McCarl Dental Group right away if you notice any of the following symptoms of tooth abscess:
- Severe toothache
- Swelling of the gums at the site and in the face and jaw
- Pus or noticeable infection around the tooth
- Draining sores
- Bad breath that doesn’t improve with cleaning
- Swollen glands
- Nausea or queasiness
Who is at Risk for Tooth Abscess?
Like other dental concerns, it’s more difficult to treat an abscess that has reached a severe level, but many patients don’t realize the concern is serious until it’s too late. We understand not wanting to reach out for emergency dentistry until it’s really necessary, but we also want to see you as soon as possible to minimize the spread of infection. For this reason, we encourage people who are at risk for tooth abscess to reach out to us as soon as they notice any minor discomfort or sensitivity. High risk individuals include the following groups:
- Those who struggle with gum disease (even if they’re on a periodontal maintenance plan)
- Those who have untreated cavities, which are caused by tooth decay
- Those who recently had any dental work completed
- Those who experienced dental trauma even if they didn’t notice any damage at the time
Is Tooth Abscess an Emergency?
We absolutely treat tooth abscess as an emergency, and our team of dentists want to see you as soon as possible to halt the spread of infection and begin renewing your oral health. When you contact our on-call dentist for emergency treatment, we’ll work with you to create a treatment plan to get you out of pain and on the road to recovery as soon as possible. In most cases, this will include performing diagnostic examinations and x-rays. We will explain what we see on the x-ray on s chairside computer and explain what to expect during treatment.
In order to treat an abscessed tooth, we’ll need to take a number of steps. First and foremost, we remove any infection around the tooth by draining sores and prescribing oral antibiotics to help your body eliminate the damaging bacteria. If the infection is very severe, we may need to administer antibiotics before we drain or remove the abscess.
We want to keep your natural tooth if possible, so the x-rays will tell us the severity of the infection and damage. If the abscess is only in the soft tissue, minimally invasive draining, antibiotic treatment, and wound care will likely be enough to renew full oral health. Unfortunately, the bulk of tooth abscesses go much deeper into the pulp layer of the tooth, which means root canal therapy is necessary. This procedure allows us to remove the infected internal tooth structures and replace them with a biologically inert substance. Then, a dental crown will be placed to seal and protect the damaged tooth.
When it’s just not possible to repair and save a damaged tooth, we may need to recommend tooth extraction. This is always our last option, but if you do need to remove your tooth, we have a variety of tooth replacement solutions to fully restore your damaged smile. The McCarl Dental Group team will partner with you from start to finish to address tooth abscess and restore your healthy, beautiful smile.
Request an Emergency Dentistry Visit at McCarl Dental Group
If you’re experiencing any of the warning signs of tooth abscess or you need our help during any dental emergency, the McCarl Dental Group team would love to hear from you. You can reach our on-call dentist at any time. Call our regular dental office number and follow the emergency instructions if it’s after hours, or if you’re an existing patient, you can contact your dentist directly. If you’re in need of routine dental care, you can request an appointment using our simple online form.