Are you possibly suffering from an abscessed tooth, also known as a periapical abscess? If so, then you are feeling the effects of a pocket of pus (a thick, yellowish fluid) caused by a bacterial infection in your tooth. An abscessed tooth develops when the nerve of a tooth is dying (or dead), on the tip of the tooth’s root and spreading out. If the pus is not drained, the tissue area surrounding it becomes more swollen and painful. To prevent the bacterial infection from spreading, your body’s defense mechanism reacts by creating the abscess to form a barrier around the infection. An abscessed tooth can involve the following:
Is it painful? An abscessed tooth is often, but not always, painful. If the abscessed tooth is not painful, and the abscess is left without treatment, the infection can last for months or years. It doesn’t go away on its own.
What are the signs of an abscess? Signs that you may have an abscessed tooth include stinky breath, a bitter taste in the mouth, fever, pain, a feeling of illness and general discomfort, swollen neck glands, and red or swollen gums.
What causes an abscessed tooth? An abscessed tooth can be caused by severe tooth decay, a tooth injury, or gum disease.
What does the infection do? Infections left untreated can eventually damage the surrounding area—the bone, teeth, etc. and can spread to other areas of the body, destroying tissue.
How does the body react? Your body may form a tunnel through the bone and skin to let the pus drain out, known as a fistula or sinus tract. If this happens and you have pus draining out, you might have an unusual taste in your mouth. Although the drainage reduces the pressure of the abscess, you will still need to treat the infection.
If an abscessed tooth is hurting you, our dentist will find out where the abscess originated and then clean it out. If the infection is inside a tooth, your tooth will be drained by making a hole–a root canal treatment, followed by a filling or a crown. If the abscess in the tooth is large it may need to be extracted and you will need antibiotics to help heal the infection.
Don’t let an abscessed tooth stop you from experiencing good health. Dr. Robert A. Berkowitz is happy to keep you smiling and your smile healthy. You can reach us by calling our Trinity Dental Center team in Anderson, South Carolina at 864-642-4630 today!