September 23, 2016
Dental abscess is a bacterial infection affecting thousands of people each year, causing pain, fever, systemic disease and tooth loss if not treated properly and promptly.
Drs. Frank and Jeanelle Marchese, Lisle dentists at Arbor Dental Care, advise immediate treatment of an abscess, suggest temporary comfort measures and tell how to prevent this potentially dangerous condition.
What is a Dental Abscess?
A dental abscess involves infection of the interior soft pulp of a tooth. The pulp contains blood vessels, connective tissue and nerves. Caused by oral injury and most commonly, deep decay, this worrisome condition leads to tooth loss if not treated right away.
Signs of dental abscess can remain localized, or they may spread throughout the body. Most often, patients exhibit:
- A feeling of malaise
- A throbbing toothache
- Extreme dental sensitivity to hot and cold beverages
- Pus at the gum line
- Foul-smelling and tasting drainage (often in a sudden gush) and bad breath
- Red and swollen gum tissue
- Jaw swelling
- Fever and facial tenderness
- Lymph node swelling and tenderness in the neck and under the chin
How is a Dental Abscess Treated?
If you show any of these symptoms, contact Dr. Marchese and his team at Arbor Dental Care as soon as possible. The doctor may wish to see you the same day.
Before going to the office, put a warm compress on the jaw, and take over the counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen to limit pain and fever. Rinse with mouthwash to cleanse your mouth of bacteria-filled drainage and to control the taste and odor.
When you see the dentist , he or she will examine the tooth and take an X-ray. The dentist questions patients about symptoms and what medications they take. Upon confirmation of a dental abscess, he or she will advise extraction if the tooth cannot be saved or root canal therapy to remove diseased inner pulp and preserve the tooth.
The doctor excises a periodontal, or gum, abscess to allow the pus to drain. Antibiotics are prescribed to ensure infection does not spread to other teeth, bone or the rest of the body.
Do We Have to Suffer with Tooth Infections?
The answer is no. Be proactive about your oral health. Dr. Marchese urges the following steps to avoid dental and periodontal (gum) abscesses:
- Get six-month cleanings and exams to prevent gum disease and decay.
- Brush twice a day and floss daily to remove plaque and its destructive bacteria.
- Call the office at the first sign of a toothache.
- Protect your mouth by wearing a sports mouthguard.
- Hydrate to increase saliva production.
- Eat a nutritious, low-carb diet. Fibrous fruits and veggies and calcium-rich dairy strengthen teeth.
- If something gets wedged between your teeth, attempt removing it with dental floss. If you cannot, call Arbor Dental Care.
Work to Preserve Your Oral Health
Be sensitive to how your mouth looks, feels and functions. If you think you have a problem, contact Arbor Dental Care. The dentists and staff are happy to help you get comfortable and healthy.
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