What you should know about a dental abscess

What you should know about a dental abscess

A dental abscess can cause considerable pain, but can usually be treated fairly easily.

A healthy smile should feel comfortable, but if you have noticed abnormalities like lumps and bumps on your gums, it’s possible that you have a dental abscess. Dental abscesses can cause considerable pain and discomfort, but the good news is that they are usually easily treated — read on to find out exactly what a dental abscess is, and what you should do if you are struggling with the issue…

1. There are two types of dental abscesses

A dental abscess is usually caused by a bacterial infection inside the tooth or gum. Characterised by a build-up of pus, dental abscesses can be categorised into two different types: periapical and periodontal.

A periapical abscess has an effect on the root of the tooth, while a periodontal abscess affects the gums, often as the result of severe gum disease. Both periapical and periodontal abscesses comprise small pockets of pus, and can be quite uncomfortable.

2. Dental abscesses are painful

Many oral health issues — even serious ones like tooth decay and gum disease — often go unnoticed because they don’t always present with symptoms. Dental abscesses, on the other hand, usually cause considerable pain. If you have an abscess, you might notice a sharp pain that affects your ability to bite and chew, or you may experience tooth sensitivity when you eat or drink something hot or cold.

It is also possible that you will feel the abscess in your mouth — often, a dental abscess causes swelling and may appear as an unusual lump.

3. Dental abscesses can be treated by your dentist

If you are suffering from oral pain and suspect that you might have a dental abscess, it is advisable that you see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will carefully drain the bacteria from the affected area and thoroughly clean the site of infection. They may prescribe a course of antibiotics to stop the infection and prevent further damage.

In some cases, your dentist may recommend that you undergo root canal therapy, especially if the infection has reached the root of the tooth. This will, however, depend on the exact location of the abscess. If the abscess is affecting your gums, your dentist might perform a scaling and root planing, a process in which plaque and tartar are removed from the teeth, as well as the area below the gumline.

4. Proper oral hygiene can keep dental abscesses at bay

Once your dental abscess has been treated by your dentist and you have made a full recovery, it is very important that you practice proper oral hygiene on a daily basis. Good hygiene habits will go a long towards preventing the problem from occurring again, and will help to maintain your overall health.

It is advisable that you prevent bacteria, plaque and tartar from building up on your teeth and gums — to do so, brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. You should also see your dentist for a regular professional clean — every six months is ideal for most people, but if you have a history of gum infection and dental abscesses, you might consider going even more often than this.

How can we help?

At Murwillumbah Dental, we care about our patients’ oral health, and encourage you to come in and see us for regular check-ups and cleans so that we can keep any potential issues under control. If you experience any pain or discomfort, or notice unusual lumps and bumps in your mouth, it is advisable that you come and see us as soon as possible. We offer a comprehensive range of general dentistry services designed to address a broad range of oral health issues.

To find out about the full range of services that we offer at Murwillumbah Dental, please have a look here.

To arrange an appointment to see us, please get in touch with us here or give us a call on (02) 6672 1068.