You’ve developed throbbing pain in your mouth, and there’s no obvious cause for the problem. The odds are good that you have an infection, which may have led to an abscess. If the pain isn’t enough to drive you to our doors, you may want to consider the risks of an untreated abscess in your mouth.
To give you an idea about what you’re up against when you have an abscess in your tooth or in your gums, Drs. Chang Yi, Negar Tehrani and our team of dental health experts here at Aura Dentistry offer the following information.
What an abscess is
An abscess is a pocket of pus that develops because of a bacterial infection in your mouth, such as tooth decay, a root canal infection, or gum disease. An abscess can also develop because of damage, such as a badly cracked tooth, which allows bacteria to gain access to the inner structures.
There are generally three different types of abscesses that can occur in your mouth, including:
- Periapical abscess — in the root of your tooth
- Periodontal abscess — in the bones and tissues that support your tooth
- Gingival abscess — in your gums
This last one, a gingival abscess, can develop because of gum disease or due to something being lodged in the soft tissues, such as the hull of a piece of popcorn.
Symptoms of an abscess
The first thing you notice if you have an abscess is pain, which can be rather severe. This pain is usually worse when you chew something in the affected area.
In addition to the pain, you may experience:
- Tooth sensitivity, especially to temperatures
- Bad breath
- Redness and swelling in your gums
- Swelling in your face around your jaw
- A bitter taste in your mouth
If the infection goes untreated, you may also develop a fever.
Complications of an abscess
As we mentioned, the risks of not seeking prompt treatment for an infection and/or abscess in your mouth are very serious. Infections generally do not go away on their own, and they can spread to other areas, such as your:
In severe cases, an abscess can lead to sepsis, which is an extreme, and life-threatening, response by your immune system to fight the infection.
Even if the infection doesn’t spread a great distance, it can certainly threaten your teeth and gums and cause irreversible damage.
Treating an abscess
Abscesses are one of the reasons why we offer comprehensive emergency dentistry services. We understand that some dental conditions require immediate care and an abscess certainly qualifies.
We can’t say here what your treatment may look like, as it depends upon the location and severity of the abscess and infection, but our primary goal is to stop the bacteria in their tracks.
To give you an idea of some of the possible treatments, we may turn to:
- A root canal procedure
- Tooth extraction
- Incision and drainage
In all cases, we also place you on antibiotics to fight back against the bacterial infection.
If you suspect you have an abscess in your mouth, contact our office in McLean, Virginia, sooner rather than later, so we can relieve your pain and safeguard your dental health.