What are dental abscesses?

What are dental abscesses?

Dental abscesses are a build-up of pus in the gums, jaw, or a tooth. They cause a lot of pain if left untreated.

This post will discuss what dental abscesses are, where they come from, their effects on your body and how to treat them.

What is an abscess?

Pus is a white, smelly liquid that your body makes when it’s fighting an infection.

It’s made up of dead bacteria, white blood cells, and dead tissue.

When pus builds up in your gum, jaw, or teeth, it’s known as a dental abscess.

But an abscess can appear anywhere in the body, not just your mouth. Some other types of abscess are:

  • skin abscess
  • brain abscess
  • abdominal abscess
  • subcutaneous abscess

What causes dental abscesses?

Your body and mouth consist of two bacteria: good bacteria and bad bacteria.

When the bad bacteria overwhelm the good bacteria, it causes an infection. The infection can lead to an abscess (a build-up of dead cells).

Infection can happen when you have a decayed or injured tooth or when you haven’t been brushing your teeth properly.

Symptoms of dental abscesses

Knowing the symptoms a dental abscess will help you to tell if you really have an abscess or if it’s a different dental problem. The main symptoms of dental abscesses are:

  • Intense throbbing pain in the affected tooth or gum
  • Pain in your ear, jaw, and neck on the same side as the affected tooth
  • Bad breath
  • A swollen cheek
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Swollen, red gums
  • Fever

How to treat an abscess

If you believe you have an abscess, then you should see your dentist as soon as possible. It’s important to get help as soon as possible, as abscesses do not go away on their own. If left untreated, the infection could spread to your other teeth and make your situation worse.

If you’re in pain, you can take ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve the pain in the meantime, or even visit the nearest hospital to get treated. However, generally, it’s best to visit a dental clinic because only dental professionals can give you the best care.

How to relieve pain from a dental abscess

While you’re waiting to see a dentist, there are some things you can do to relieve the pain.

  • Take a painkiller like Ibuprofen or paracetamol
  • Avoid hot or cold food and drinks
  • Eat cool, soft foods using the opposite side of your mouth
  • Use a soft toothbrush to clean your teeth instead of a hard one
  • Avoid flossing around the affected tooth

How to prevent abscesses in the first place

They say the prevention is better than cure, and that’s definitely true for abscesses. Preventing abscesses is easy: you just have to take care of your teeth. You can do this by:

  • Brushing twice daily
  • Reducing your sugar intake
  • Using a toothpaste that contains the right amount of fluoride
  • Visiting your dentist for regular check-ups

If you’d like to see a dentist about an abscess or any other problem, then give us a call. We’ll be happy to see you and to check your teeth.

Posted in: Dental tips

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