What You Need to Know About Tooth Abscesses

An abscess is a life-threatening issue. It can occur in the mouth, jaw, and even the throat. It is an extremely serious dental problem that can lead to a lot of pain, particularly if it is not taken care of properly. Whenever an abscess occurs, it must be taken care of professionally since you cannot cure it on your own.

Causes of Tooth Abscesses

When a tooth becomes damaged with a fracture, chip, crack, or deep decay, bacteria can enter through the opening. An abscess occurs when the soft inner part of the tooth becomes infected with bacteria. This portion of the tooth is commonly referred to as the pulp. The bacterial infection often leads to severe swelling if left untreated. Eventually, it can lead to the formation of pus in and around the tooth. Additional causes of tooth abscesses include an injury that occurs to a tooth, a filling that has loosened and become infected, infection following root canal treatment, and severe gum disease.

Symptoms of Tooth Abscesses

How do you know if you have a tooth abscess? Maybe you have a little pain, but you haven’t been paying attention to it. Here are the signs to watch for to determine whether or not you have a tooth abscess:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • A sore that oozes pus
  • A toothache which is characterized by excessive pain or deep throbbing
  • Pain during chewing or biting
  • Pain whenever you close your mouth tightly and the teeth touch
  • Extreme sensitivity to cold and hot foods, beverages, or water, particularly with a specific tooth
  • Bad breath that is constant
  • A bad taste in the mouth that is constant
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck area or near the jaw

If left untreated, a tooth abscess can kill the nerve of the tooth, creating severe, unrelenting pain. If enough time passes, the root of the tooth will die completely. The pain will eventually stop, but if treatment is not provided, the infection can spread to other teeth in the mouth. With an advanced infection, it is possible that you may begin to experience chills, nausea, headache, or vomiting. If you develop a fever, it is a sure sign that the infection has spread into the bone of the jaw or elsewhere in the body. At this point, you need to seek immediate treatment, either from your dentist or a physician.

Possible Complications of Tooth Abscesses

If the abscess is left untreated, the infection can spread to the bone or blood. This is a life-threatening condition that must be dealt with immediately. The longer it is left to spread, the more tissue the infection can damage. It is possible that a skin infection might occur. Advanced conditions can lead to the disfigurement of the jaw, tooth loss, and even facial disfigurement.

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