Dental Abscess: Symptoms, causes, treatments and more

A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that’s caused by a bacterial infection within the periodontal tissue ( the gums, the jawbone and the dental pulp);

Dental abscesses, which can result in pus formation can be very painful and interfere with daily life. Dental abcesses  can be divided in two types: endodontic ( including cysts and granulomas) and periodontal.

In both cases, the main symptoms are swelling (of the face or cheeks), pain and sometimes fever. Further symptoms can be:

  • halitosisDental-Abscess
  • swelling of the cervical lymph nodes
  • dental hypersensitivity
  • difficulty with mastication
  • muscle spasm of the mandible
  • general malaise ( feeling generally unwell )

In general the main symptoms mentioned above can be alleviated with an appropriate antibiotic treatment.

In the most serious cases the treatment involves incision and drainage of the abscess. Do not worry this procedure is almost pain-free ( under local anaesthesia ).

Furthermore, in order to relieve the patient’s pain and if fever persists the dentist may prescribe anaesthetic or painkilling drugs such as naproxen or paracetamol.

Factors which may contribute significantly to the risk of a tooth abscess are;

  • Poor dental hygiene: not taking proper care of your teeth and gums — e.g. not brushing your teeth twice a day and not flossing — which may increase your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, tooth abscess, and other dental or oral complications
  • A diet high in sugar content: frequently eating and drinking foods rich in sugar, such as sweets and fizzy drinks, can contribute to dental decay which may lead to a tooth abscess
  • Pathologies such as diabetes, bacterial cellulite, HIV, gastroesophageal reflux
  • Long term medication: for example therapy using antihistamines, antihypertensive and corticosteroids
  • Smoking
  • Alcoholism
  • Failing dental treatment tooth implants, fillings, endodontic therapy

“See your dentist promptly if you have any signs or symptoms of a tooth abscess”!

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