A dental abscess is a serious but common problem. An abscess is a type of lump or swelling due to pus and infection. A dental abscess is exactly that – but in your mouth. Sometimes a dental abscess will present with no pain, but just look like a pimple type lump on the gum. However if there is pain associated with a dental abscess, it’s usually an intense, nerve pain.
The lump itself will usually be above or below a tooth, on the gum. Redness, swelling and pus are all visible signs of a dental abscess. As a dental abscess is an infection, antibiotics are often used to treat them. A course of antibiotics will often reduce pain, swelling and clear up the infection immediately.
However this does not mean the problem is ‘fixed’.The infection will subside temporarily but the underlying problem remains. You may feel no pain, and be truly convinced the issue is fixed. It’s crucial to continue seeing your dentist and following a treatment plan.
There are many causes of dental abscesses. Extreme cases of periodontitis (gum disease) can lead to dental abscess, as can a hard knock to a tooth. A large cavity that decays down to the nerve can also cause dental abscess. You can reduce your chances of suffering from a dental abscess by thoroughly cleaning your teeth and gums each morning and night.
Also, having regular six monthly cleans with your dentist will reduce the risk of a dental abscess, as plaque and tartar is removed, preventing infection. If you know you have a cavity or are advised to have a filling, don’t put it off. Leaving dental decay untreated can cause a dental abscess. Treatment of a dental abscess usually involves antibiotics to clear the infection, and then either root canal therapy or extraction of the tooth.
Don’t put yourself through the pain and complication of a dental abscess – maintain your dental health.