Dental abscesses — an infection in your tooth or gums — do not go away on their own and, in fact, can lead to serious complications if left untreated. The first step to take when you suspect you have an abscess is to avail yourself of our emergency dentistry services.
While Drs.Chang Yi and Negar Tehrani make every effort to see you quickly here at Aura Dentistry, there may be a small period of waiting and you want to know some of the dos and don’ts for managing the abscess before your visit.
Let’s take a look.
Dental abscesses at a glance
One of the primary drivers of dental abscesses are dental caries (tooth decay). If you consider that 92% of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have dental caries, you realize that the opportunity for an abscess to develop is fairly high.
An abscess is an infection that develops in your tooth or gums when bacteria gain access. Outside of dental caries, bacteria can gain entry because of gum disease, trauma to your tooth, or unresolved dental work.
Whatever caused the abscess, once an infection takes hold, please note that it won’t go away on its own, making prompt treatment a good idea. Not that we want to scare you unnecessarily, but untreated infections have the potential of spreading into your jawbone, down into your neck, and up into your intracranial sinuses.
While pain is the primary indicator that an abscess may be present, you may also experience swelling around your face, a foul odor and/or taste in your mouth, and fever.
Tips for managing an abscess
If you suspect that an abscess is developing, call to make an appointment and then try the following:
- Rinse your mouth with lukewarm salt water
- Do not floss around the affected area
- Chew on the opposite side of your mouth
- Avoid hot or cold drinks
When it comes to managing the pain, feel free to take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. There was a time when people thought that placing an aspirin against the infection would help, but we caution you against this practice. The aspirin won’t help any better with pain relief when used that way and, worse, it can damage your gums.
Also, if you have leftover antibiotics in your house, please don’t take them until we confirm an infection. Even then, we will prescribe you new ones as antibiotics can lose their potency and you may have the wrong ones on hand.
Rest assured, you won’t have to manage your abscess for long and, when you come in, we’ll work quickly to halt the infection and relieve your pain.
To schedule your appointment for abscess care, contact our office in McLean, Virginia.