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Dental Abscess: What Is It?

If you have ever had the question of what exactly is an abscess, how it forms, and how it is treated, then you are at the right place! Abscesses can be a pain, and knowing just what causes them helps us prevent them. Here in Los Algodones we wish to spread knowledge about the many complications that can happen, so here we raise an article about dental abscess.

It is important to know that by keeping a good oral hygiene routine problems like these can be avoided.


What is an abscess?

In short words, a dental abscess is an pus-filled infection at the root of the tooth, although it can also happen between the tooth and gum. So abscesses are sockets filled with pus by a bacterial infection.

By isolating and keeping the bacteria in the socket, it is kept from spreading and infecting other parts of the body. But an abscess if left alone without draining then it will get more swollen and painful.

Failing to deal with a dental abscess makes way into something worse: a tooth infection. Abscesses are usually painful and make your jaw swell and red, and given enough time it can wreck havoc with the tooth’s nerves to the point of not feeling pain anymore.


Why do abscesses form?

A medical abscess can form anywhere where bacteria is free to grow and multiply. In dentistry, they usually come to be due teeth that have become infected.

As you may know, our saliva has many beneficial properties, one of them is halting the growth of bacteria. So it makes sense that they form under a tooth or gums when there is nothing to keep it from growing.

So in short words, it is bacteria that has had plenty of time to do damage without stop.


Two types

In order to properly approach this, we must divide them in two groups! Like we mentioned before, an abscess can appear inside a tooth or the space between the tooth and the gum. As such, abscesses are divided into those two:


Periodontal or gum abscess

These are the ones that form between your tooth and gum. Food particles that has been stuck between the gum and tooth are usually at fault for this infection. As a side effect of this, since the abscess is rich in bacteria, it causes periodontal disease right on the spot.


Periapical or tooth-related abscess

This one is inside a tooth. This type affects the root of the tooth and means it is dying or close to. If not dealt with, it can spread to the bone and neck.


On a side note, they are even more likely to appear if the patient has bad oral hygiene habits. Furthermore, fistula, cysts and sepsis are a possible consequence if left untreated.



To have an understanding of the general symptoms that dental abscesses cause, here is a list:

  • Swollen and redness of face and/or gums.
  • Pain in the affected area. It can be worse when lying down, and it can spread to the neighboring areas (ear, jaw, neck).
  • The tooth will be a dark color.
  • Tooth sensitivity in the area.
  • Foul breath and/or unpleasant bitter taste in the mouth.


How is it treated?

First of all, even if you get to drain it by yourself, there is always the chance that it can get infected again or spread. As such, we recommend seeking a dentist in order to treat it thoroughly.

As to how it is dealt with, our Los Algodones dentists explain that it is important for abscesses to be treated in a clean environment. This is to avoid more bacteria to come and get in touch with the infected area. Once the area is clean and good, then the pus is dealt with by allowing it escape. Then the infection is treated considering the case of the patient.

Most of the time the abscess will leave an empty socket, this is filled with artificial material that bonds and helps the overall structure remain strong.

Also, depending on the severity of the case, the tooth might be lost. A dentist will do everything in their power to avoid that. But nonetheless, it is important to seek help as quickly as possible.And remember to keep a healthy routine by brushing flossing everyday!

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