Emergency Dentistry: What Is a Tooth Abscess?
Emergency dentistry focuses on treating dental issues that require immediate care, like an abscess. An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms due to a bacterial infection in a tooth. Some abscesses form at the tip of a tooth’s root, while others form in gum tissues around the infected tooth.
An abscess can be quite painful and lead to more serious issues. For example, the infection in the tooth can spread to vital organs, like the brain, where it can be life-threatening. An abscess is more likely to occur when a tooth’s pulp chamber has been compromised. This is the area that contains the tooth’s nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues. The area is sealed off to protect the soft tissues there. When the pulp chamber is opened up due to decay or an injury, bacteria can make their way into the pulp chamber, leading to issues like an infection or abscess.
How emergency dentistry addresses abscessed teeth
Here are signs and symptoms that mean it is time to seek emergency dentistry care for an abscessed tooth:
- A severe, throbbing toothache
- Pain when chewing
- Inflamed gums
- Teeth sensitivity
- A weird taste or smell in the mouth
Treatment options that a dentist might recommend for an abscessed tooth include the following.
A dentist might recommend treating abscess by draining the pus. This involves making an incision into the pus pocket and allowing its contents to drain out. The dentist typically follows that up by removing any dead tissues in the area and washing it with a saline solution.
Draining an abscess is not always an option. Dentists can also treat the infection by placing the patient on antibiotics. This helps fight the infection and can make local anesthetics more effective on the patient. Severe dental infections tend to block the effects of local anesthetics.
3. Root canal
A root canal is one of the most effective ways to treat an infected tooth. The procedure involves removing the soft tissues in the pulp chamber and applying mediation there to kill any bacteria. The area is sealed with gutta-percha to prevent bacteria from re-infecting it.
Some patients wait longer than they should before getting treatment for their infected tooth. For some of these people, it might be too late to perform a root canal because the infection is starting to spread to other parts of the body, where it is a significantly more serious issue. Extracting the tooth in this scenario is the best way to safeguard the patient’s health. The extracted tooth can be replaced with an oral prosthetic, like an implant.
Get emergency care for your infected tooth
An abscessed tooth is a serious dental issue that should never be ignored. Doing so can lead to serious health conditions that can be life-threatening. Call or visit our Santa Cruz clinic to learn more about how we can fix your abscessed tooth.
Request an appointment here: https://www.kevinjdailydds.com or call Kevin J Daily DDS at (831) 580-1141 for an appointment in our Santa Cruz office.
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