Oral Health and Genetic Risk Factors

A Brief Guide to Dental Abscesses

A dental abscess is a pocket of pus inside your tooth or gum, caused by a bacterial infection. It can be very painful and also can stop you from sleeping well. A dental abscess will not get better without treatment, may start to affect other parts of the body and may even result in loss of the affected tooth. Dental abscesses are a very common reason for people to visit emergency dentists, as they wait until the pain is unbearable and then require out-of-hours treatment. This short guide aims to explain what an abscess feels like, how it is treated and how to prevent it.

Symptoms of a Dental Abscess

The NHS has a comprehensive list of the symptoms of a dental abscess, the main one being intense, throbbing pain in and around the affected tooth. This pain often gets worse when lying down and can spread to your ears or neck, depending on which tooth is affected. There may also be swelling around the tooth, and you may find it painful to eat or drink. In the most serious cases, the tooth can become loose. 

Treatment For Dental Abscesses

Taking painkillers may reduce some of the pain of a dental abscess, but you will also need dental treatment as soon as possible. Some abscesses can be treated simply with drainage and a course of antibiotics, but many require a root canal. This may require multiple trips to the dentist and involve the dentist drilling into the crown to drain away the pus. In some extreme cases, the dentist may have to remove the affected tooth. 

Preventing Dental Abscesses

There are several things that you can do to prevent a dental abscess, and all of them will improve your overall oral health as well. Brush your teeth twice a day, and also ensure that you clean between your teeth with floss or an interdental brush to reduce the build-up of bacteria and plaque. You should also reduce the number of sugary foods you consume. Make sure that you visit your dentist regularly, as they can offer personalised advice on your oral health. 

Dental abscesses can be very painful and require an expensive and inconvenient visit to the emergency dentist, but you can reduce the chance of one occurring by developing a rigorous oral hygiene routine. If you do develop symptoms of a dental abscess, then you should visit a dentist as soon as possible to avoid tooth loss and further pain. Contact a dental office like Dentists @ Muswellbrook Pty Ltd for additional advice.