4 Signs of a Dental Abscess

If you’ve ever experienced a dental abscess, you know how painful and unpleasant it can be. This infection can cause pockets of pus, throbbing pain, and serious complications that can affect your overall health.

As a board certified dentist in Peoria, Arizona, Johnny L. Smith, DMD can quickly determine if your pain is caused by a dental abscess. From there, he can provide emergency dental services to alleviate the pain, followed by periodontal dentistry to help repair the problem and prevent reinfection.

Dental abscesses 101

Dental abscesses develop when bacteria infect your teeth and gums. There are a few different types of abscesses.  

Periodontal abscess

These abscesses occur when a pocket forms inside your gum, right along the root of your tooth. These can become especially painful, since they affect both your tooth and gums. Periodontal abscesses are the third-most-common dental emergency, and often develop due to gum disease or mouth injuries.

Periapical abscess

Periapical abscesses are caused by a bacterial infection of your inner tooth. Your tooth is filled with pulp, which contains tiny blood vessels and nerves. If bacteria enter your tooth through a crack or cavity, they can quickly infect the pulp and lead to a painful abscess. 

Gingival abscess

Gingival abscesses don’t involve your teeth, but they’re just as painful as tooth abscesses. These infections usually form when food or foreign objects get lodged in your gums. 

Regardless of what type of abscess you have, all of them require immediate dental care. 

4 signs of a dental abscess 

One of the main symptoms of an abscess is throbbing pain. While unpleasant, it’s a clear sign you need to go to the dentist. 

If you’re not sure whether your pain is caused by a dental abscess, here are four other signs that can indicate a serious infection: 

  1. Tooth sensitivity 
  2. Redness and swelling of the gums, face, and lymph nodes 
  3. Bad breath 
  4. Rupture of the abscess 

You’ll know for certain that you have an abscess if it ruptures. The pain and pressure will alleviate immediately, but the pus and fluid will flood into your mouth. This is a foul experience, so it’s best if you seek help from a dentist before the abscess has a chance to burst. 

If left untreated, the infection can spread to other areas of your body, including your lungs. If you’re experiencing a high fever, confusion, and a rapid heartbeat, seek immediate medical attention.

What to expect from treatment

Before administering any additional care, Dr. Smith focuses on providing pain relief  Then he performs a complete evaluation to determine the type of abscess you’ve got, its location, and its severity. Your treatment might include: 

Most abscesses clear up quickly and don’t require further treatment. To avoid future infections, stay on top of your oral hygiene, and visit the dentist regularly. If Dr. Smith determines you need a root canal, he will refer you to an experienced periodontist.

Don’t wait to seek dental treatment if you notice signs of an abscess. To get in touch with Dr. Smith and his team, call 623-972-6137, or book an appointment online

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