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What is a Tooth Abscess?

Dental abscess is defined as the body's reaction to bacteria. Abscesses can occur in the mouth or in a specific part of the body. Abscesses can cause complaints such as pain and redness. If the abscessed area is not treated, the person may experience numbness in the jaw.

What is a Tooth Abscess?

Dental abscess is a bacterial infection in the inner part of the tooth where pus has collected and can cause moderate to intense pain for the person suffering from it. A tooth abscess can occur when a decaying tooth is left untreated for too long, or a crack or fracture in the tooth allows bacteria to find its way into the pulp (the soft inner-most part of the tooth) of the tooth and cause an infection.
When the bacteria starts to make its way inside, it will spread towards the root of the tooth, causing both infection and swelling. When inflammation occurs, the bacteria compresses the pus in a narrow section (known as an abscess) at the tip of the root where the swelling is.

Symptoms of Tooth Abscess

A dental abscess is a collection of pus in the teeth or gums as a result of bacterial inflammation. Dental abscesses can show many symptoms. The symptoms of a dental abscess are as follows;

  • Permanent aching and severe pain in the teeth
  • High sensitivity to heat
  • Pain when chewing or biting a food normally
  • Fever
  • Swelling in the face and cheek area
  • Sensitization or swelling of the lymph nodes under the chin and in the neck area
  • Foul-tasting fluid in the mouth following pain relief, indicating that the abscess has burst

What are the Types of Tooth Abscess?

Abscesses can be examined in 2 different ways. These; It is evaluated as abscesses accumulated in the roots of the teeth and abscesses that occur between the teeth. Abscesses accumulated in the roots of the teeth are generally caused by the lack of local oral care, lack of treatment of caries. Abscesses that form between the teeth are the result of not providing adequate oral care again.  It is inevitable that such abscesses occur when the food left between the teeth during the day is not cleaned.

How to Diagnose Abscesses

The dentist will first listen to the patient's complaints and physically check the patient's teeth. He/she will then ask the patient for an X-ray, followed by a diagnosis and identification of the abscessed area. The X-ray will be very instructive about the condition and stage of the abscess.

How Should Abscess Treatment Be Performed?

First of all, canal treatment can usually be performed for abscesses that occur in the root of the tooth. Root canal treatment will be performed professionally by endodontist specialists. However, in some abscesses, root canal treatment alone may not be sufficient. In such cases, surgical operations may be used. In both cases, if there is no response to treatment, the tooth may need to be extracted and implant treatment may be required.
For abscesses that occur between the teeth, that part is hygienically cleaned and the inflammation is drained. Then the root surface of the tooth is cleaned so that it cannot be renewed. The patient does not feel pain during this procedure.
While the abscess is healing, the dentist may recommend that you gargle your mouth regularly with warm salty water and use over-the-counter pain medication if necessary to alleviate any illness you may be experiencing.

What Can I Do to Prevent Recurrence of Tooth Abscess?

The first thing that individuals who are faced with abscess symptoms should do is to see a specialist dentist. Although some applications to be made during the period until the intervention of the dentist are not sufficient alone, they can reduce the problems caused by the abscess. Some of these methods are:

  • In order to prevent tooth abscesses from recurring, oral care should be carried out continuously and should not be neglected. 
  • Gargle the mouth regularly.
  • When eating, the abscessed area should be avoided as much as possible. 
  • Floss can be used for food residues between the teeth. The types of dental floss that should be preferred are nylon and single filament ones.
  • Regular dental check-ups should be done.

What is Good for Tooth Abscess?

The first thing to do if you are experiencing symptoms of an abscess is to consult a specialist dentist. Some of the procedures that need to be done until the specialist intervenes are not sufficient on their own, but they can reduce the problems caused by the abscess. Some of these methods are as follows;

Rinsing the mouth with salty or carbonated water: It cleans the infection around the tooth and reduces the pain.

Applying a cold compress: A cold compress applied to the abscess reduces swelling and helps reduce pain.

Rubbing fresh garlic on the abscess: Garlic has antibiotic properties and causes the bacteria to die.

Applying clove oil to the abscessed part: Among other methods applied at home.

What happens if a tooth abscess is not treated?

When the abscessed area is left untreated, it causes numbness in the individual's jaw.  It can affect the jawbone and nerve and cause damage to the bone. If there is a gap between the teeth and oral dental care is not done regularly, the food waste accumulated between the teeth leads to abscess formation in the tooth root.

Updated Date:03 March 2023Creation Date:04 August 2023