A dental abscess is an accumulation of pus on the teeth or gums caused by an infection. Abscess can occur in different areas close to the tooth for different reasons. A periapical abscess forms at the tip of the root. A periodontal abscess occurs on the gums near the root of the tooth.

What is a dental abscess?

A dental abscess is an accumulation of pus on the teeth or gums caused by an infection. Abscess can occur in different areas close to the tooth for different reasons. A periapical abscess forms at the tip of the root. A periodontal abscess occurs on the gums near the root of the tooth.

Periapical tooth abscess usually occurs as a result of an untreated dental cavity, an injury, or previous dental work. Infection with irritation and swelling (inflammation) can cause an abscess at the tip of the root.

A tooth abscess does not go away on its own. Dentists will treat a dental abscess by draining it and using antibiotics. They can save your tooth with root canal treatment. However, in some cases, the tooth may need to be extracted. Leaving a dental abscess untreated can lead to serious, even life-threatening, complications. It requires immediate treatment by a dentist.

What are the symptoms of tooth abscess?

  • Fire,
  • Pain or discomfort with the pressure of chewing or biting
  • Severe, persistent, throbbing toothache that may radiate to the jawbone, neck, or ear
  • Pain or discomfort in hot and cold weather,
  • Swelling of the face, cheek or neck that may cause difficulty in breathing or swallowing,
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes under the chin or on the neck,
  • Bad smell in the mouth,
  • Symptoms such as sudden foul-smelling and bad taste in the mouth, salty liquid coming out or disappearance of pain due to abscess draining may be seen.

How do I know if I have a tooth abscess?

If you have one or more of the following symptoms in addition to intense toothache in your teeth or gums, there is a high probability of a tooth abscess.

  • Redness, swelling, in or out of the mouth (on the face or chin),
  • Sensitivity in the area of pain or to cold foods and drinks,
  • A bad taste in the mouth,
  • Difficulty opening the mouth and chewing food
  • Feeling of high temperature.

Causes of tooth abscess

Tooth abscesses usually occur when there is an infection in the mouth and pus builds up under the teeth or gums. A periapical dental abscess occurs when bacteria invade the dental pulp (the innermost part of the tooth that contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue). Bacteria enter either through a tooth cavity or a crack in the tooth and spread to the root. Bacterial infection can cause swelling and inflammation at the tip of the root.

Tooth abscess can occur in the following situations:

  • Irregularly erupted tooth (impacted tooth),
  • Tooth decay or gum disease
  • Tooth, gum or intraoral injuries,
  • Receiving radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment.
  • What are the possible risk factors for dental abscess?

Certain factors can increase your risk of dental abscess

Bad dental habits and care: Not taking proper care of teeth and gums – such as not brushing and flossing twice a day – can increase the risk of dental problems. Problems can include tooth decay, gum disease, tooth abscess, and other dental and oral complications.

A diet high in sugar: Eating and drinking sugar-rich foods such as sweets and sodas frequently can contribute to dental cavities and develop into a dental abscess.

Dry mouth: Dry mouth can increase the risk of tooth decay. Dry mouth is often caused by a side effect of certain medications or problems with aging.

What can I do for a dental abscess at home?

You can do the following to temporarily reduce your complaints due to dental abscess:

  • Pain relievers can reduce pain and inflammation. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can be used, or you can take acetaminophen. You can get advice from the pharmacy about this.
  • Eat soft foods such as soup, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes and yogurt.
  • Use a soft toothbrush to clean your teeth.
  • Avoid sugary or very hot or cold foods and drinks.
  • Warm salt water mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide mouthwash is not recommended for children.
  • Do not eat with aching teeth, avoid chewing, etc.
  • Do not give aspirin to a child under the age of 16.
  • Do not eat sweet, very hot or very cold foods.
  • Don’t smoke, smoking can make some dental problems worse.

When should a dentist be consulted?

Tooth abscess is a condition that needs immediate intervention. Otherwise, it may progress and cause systemic disorders. Sometimes it can even have fatal consequences. If you have any signs or symptoms of a tooth abscess, contact your dentist immediately.

  • If you have fever and swelling on your face,
  • If you have a swollen or sore eye, or if you suddenly start to have problems with your eyesight
  • If you have a lot of swelling in your mouth,

Important: If you have difficulty breathing or swallowing, seek medical advice immediately. These findings may indicate that the infection has spread deeper into your jaw, throat or neck, or even to other parts of your body.

How is a dental abscess treated?

If you think you have symptoms related to a dental abscess, consult a dentist immediately. Dental abscesses are easily diagnosed by a qualified dentist.

Tooth abscess is not a disease that can be treated immediately like a filling. When the dentist diagnoses an abscess, he first applies medication. With antibiotics and other supportive treatments, the abscess is brought to a certain stage. In addition to drug therapy, he advises the patient on issues such as pain management and oral care with abscesses.

Surgical methods for dental abscesses are:

Incision: The abscess should be cut and the pus containing bacteria should be drained. The dentist makes the incision under local anesthesia. This procedure relieves the patient’s pain. Afterwards, drug treatment should be continued.

Periapical abscess treatment: Root canal treatment will be applied to remove the abscess. A drill is used to make a hole in the dead tooth so that the pus can come out. Any damaged tissue will be removed from the pulp. A root filler is then placed in the cavity to prevent subsequent infections.

Periodontal abscess treatment: The abscess is emptied and the periodontal pocket is cleaned. The surfaces of the root of the tooth are then flattened below the gumline by scaling and planing. This helps the tooth heal and prevents further infections from occurring.

Pain relievers may be recommended for a few days after treatment and antibiotics may also be given.

What happens if a tooth abscess is not treated properly?

Tooth abscess does not go away without treatment. If the abscess ruptures, the pain sensation may be relieved, which may make you think the problem is gone, but the problem that caused the abscess needs to be identified and treated. That’s why you still need treatment.

If the abscess does not drain, the infection can spread to your jaw and other areas of your head and neck. An opening may also develop between the tooth abscess and the sinus if the tooth is near the maxillary sinus. This can cause an infection in the sinus cavity. You may even develop sepsis, a life-threatening infection that spreads throughout your body.

If you have a weakened immune system and don’t treat your dental abscess, your risk of spreading infection increases even more.

How to prevent a tooth abscess?

The best way to prevent a dental abscess is to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible and avoid tooth decay.

To do this:

  • On average, have regular dental check-ups every six months. If possible, continue your dental checkups with the same dentist.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or when the bristles are frayed.
  • Avoid sugary foods and drinks. Sugary foods taken especially in the evening will leave residue on the teeth. If these residues are not cleaned, it will cause tooth decay over time. It is recommended to consume sugary foods only at meal times, occasionally and in small amounts.
  • Brush your teeth for about 2 minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. It is recommended to brush the gums and tongue while brushing the teeth.
  • You can use an antiseptic or fluoride mouthwash to add an extra layer of protection against tooth decay.
  • Clean between your teeth daily using floss or an interdental brush to remove food, debris and plaque.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking will both cause cosmetic problems due to yellowing of the teeth and worsen dental problems. Smoking after dental interventions will prolong bleeding times.