A dental abscess is a painful, serious oral health problem. Seeking treatment at the first signs of an abscess is essential to save the affected tooth from extraction and protect overall health. Restorative dentistry treatments from Dr. Bruce Wilderman can treat such conditions as dental abscesses, reducing pain and improving oral health. To find out if dental abscess treatment is right for you, contact our Philadelphia, PA offices to schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience.
What Is a Dental Abscess?
A dental abscess is a collection of pus that develops around different areas of the tooth as a result of a bacterial infection. Dental abscesses, also called periapical abscesses, commonly occur at the tip of the tooth's roots.
Periapical abscesses usually develop as a result of an oral injury, previous dental work, or an untreated dental cavity that allows bacteria to infect the inner pulp tissues of the teeth, tissues that include the tooth's blood vessels and nerves.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of a dental abscess are hard to ignore and include:
- Swelling of the face or cheek
- Severe pain that may radiate into the neck, ear, or jawbone
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Sensitivity to hot or cold
- Swollen lymph nodes
The Importance of Seeking Treatment
At the first signs of a dental abscess it's important to seek treatment. Without treatment, the infection from an abscess can spread beyond the roots of the teeth and into the jaw, neck, or other areas of the head. In severe cases, the infection may spread throughout the body and develop into a life-threatening illness called sepsis.
In addition to the risk to overall health, dental abscesses can cause tooth loss, either from the tooth falling out on its own or from extraction.
Restoring Oral Health with Dental Abscess Treatment
The goal of dental abscess treatment is to eliminate the infection first, since it can be life threatening, and to save the affected tooth. Treatment for a dental abscess may include one or more of the following treatments:
- Draining the abscess: Abscess treatment sometimes begins with draining the abscess. This is done by making a small cut into the abscess to allow the pus to drain out. The abscess is then cleaned with saline to remove any residual pus.
- Root canal therapy: Root canal therapy is one of the primary methods to save a tooth with an abscess from requiring extraction. During root canal therapy, a hole is drilled into the tooth and infected pulp tissues, including the nerves, are removed and the abscess drained. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned and filled. A dental crown is often placed to strengthen the tooth after root canal therapy.
- Tooth extraction: When an abscess is so severe that the affected tooth cannot be saved, extraction may be the only option. Once the tooth is pulled, the abscess may be drained and cleaned to prevent infection from spreading.
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be prescribed, especially if the infection has spread beyond the roots and into the jaws or other areas.
Find out Which Treatment Is Right for You
If you are suffering from a dental abscess, don't put off treatment any longer. Abscesses are dangerous not just to oral health but to overall health as well. To find out which treatment is right for you, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wilderman.