What To Do About Abscessed ToothTuesday, December 3rd, 2013, 9:50 pm
An abscessed tooth is an infection around or in the tooth. This condition is usually very painful and if the infection isn’t treated quickly it can spread. This could mean losing the tooth or the infection could spread throughout other parts of your body. Untreated abscesses have even resulted in death.
It seems like these infections blow up at the most inopportune times – usually weekends. When severe pain and fever strikes on a weekend you may be tempted to visit the emergency room for care. Most emergency rooms in the US are not equipped to handle dental emergencies. Call your dentist, treating emergencies goes along with choosing dentistry as a career!
An abscessed tooth is easily diagnosed and treated but you must contact your dentist immediately if you experience these symptoms:
- Throbbing pain, may radiate to the jaw
- Red, swollen gums
- Bad taste in your mouth
- Facial or jaw swelling
- A tooth that is sore or tender to touch
- A swelling inside your mouth that may have a discharge
Your dentist will review your symptoms and take x-rays to confirm the infection. Oral antibiotics are given to help fight the infection but oral antibiotics alone cannot resolve an infected tooth. In order to remove the infection from within the tooth the infection will need to be drained. The involved tooth may require root canal therapy to remove the infected pulp inside the tooth.
The swelling and discomfort from an abscessed tooth can be reduced by using a cold compress against the affected area. You may be prescribed medicine for pain or suggest over-the-counter remedies such as Advil, Motrin or Tylenol. Try to avoid using tobacco products while the abscess is healing.
Avoiding an Abscessed Tooth
Prevention is the best way to avoid a painful dental abscess. Avoiding tooth decay and keeping your gums healthy can help you avoid experiencing this situation. Brush twice each day with a fluoride toothpaste. Use dental floss once each day and visit your dental hygienist twice a year for cleanings (more often if you have gum disease or underlying medical conditions such as diabetes). A healthy diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables and low amounts of simple carbohydrates is best for your overall health and oral health. Just say no to soft drinks – they are full of acid and sugar that is a terrible combo for oral health!
Many times the pain from an abscessed tooth will fell intermittent at first – the tooth hurts and then it goes away – but it will come back. Dental infections, just like tooth decay, cannot heal themselves.
At the first sign of discomfort please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA at 706-886-9439.