How Do You Know If a Tooth Abscess Has Spread?

How Do You Know If a Tooth Abscess Has Spread?

Sep 01, 2022

Having a toothache can make you miserable. However, it’s normally the first sign, not a tooth infection. Therefore, you should immediately visit your emergency dentist in Columbia, MO.

The longer you’ll wait before treatment, the more time your tooth infection gets to spread into your other teeth and tissue.

What’s An Abscessed Tooth?

This’s a pocket of a pulse of pus that comes from a bacterial infection. Abscesses occur in different places around the tooth for various reasons and affect the involved tooth. It also affects the surrounding bone and the adjacent teeth at times.

There are three types of infections that can cause abscesses:

  • Gingival: This type of infection develops in the gums. It doesn’t normally affect your tooth or supporting tissues.
  • Periapical: This abscess is an infection that develops at the tip of your tooth’s root. This occurs when bacteria spread from the inside of the tooth to the pulp through a cavity or fracture. The tooth’s pulp is the innermost part of your teeth that contains blood vessels and nerves. When bacteria get to the pulp, they may spread to the tip of your tooth’s root and cause an infection to spread to the bone leading to an abscess.
  • Periodontal: This infection usually starts in the tissues and bones that support the teeth. A periodontal abscess results from gum disease or periodontitis and is more common in adults.

What Causes a Tooth Abscess?

Anything that can create an opening for bacteria to enter the tooth or surrounding tissues leads to a tooth infection. The causes include:

  • Cracked, chipped, or broken teeth: Bacteria may seep into any opening in the tooth and spread to the pulp.
  • Severe tooth decay: A tooth decay or cavity is due to the destruction of your tooth’s hard surfaces. This happens when the bacteria break down sugars in drinks and food, creating acid that attacks the enamel.
  • Gum disease is an infection or inflammation of the tissues around the teeth. As the gum disease progress, the bacteria gain access to the deeper tissues.
  • Injury to the tooth: Trauma to your teeth may injure the inner pulp even if there’s no visible crack. The damage makes your tooth susceptible to infection.

Symptoms of a Tooth Infection

If you have an infected tooth, the pain may be:

  • Shooting and sharp
  • Throbbing and gnawing
  • Continuous or experience it only when chewing
  • Radiating to the neck, jawbone, or ear

Other oral symptoms of infection include:

  • Foul-smelling breath
  • The tooth becomes loose
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Tooth sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures
  • Swelling or gum redness
  • HAVING open, draining sore on the side of the gum
  • Swollen area in the lower and upper jaw

How is Abscessed Tooth Diagnosed?

Your dentist at All American Dental examines the tooth and surrounding tissue for any signs of the infection, and in addition, they may:

  • Recommend an X-ray: This helps identify sources of dental disease that have led to the infection. The dentist also uses an X-ray to determine if the infection has spread and whether it may affect other areas.
  • Recommend a CT scan: If the infection has already spread to other areas within the neck, this helps to identify the extent of the infection.
  • Tap and press on your teeth: When a tooth has an abscess, it’s often sensitive to pressure or touch
  • Thermal tests: These tests help your dentist determine the health of the pulpal tissues.

How’s an Abscess Tooth Treated?

Tooth abscess treatment aims to eliminate the infection and prevent complications. The treatment options include:

  • Incision and drainage: Your dentist will make a small cut in the abscess to drain the pus. They may place a small rubber drain to keep the area open for drainage.
  • Root canal: This helps eliminate the infection and save your tooth. This procedure helps remove the tooth’s infected inner pulp and fill the gap with material to prevent another disease. After the process, the teeth are supposed to be back to normal through a crown that may be needed to protect the root canal.
  • Tooth extraction: Sometimes, your dentist may not be able to save your tooth, and it may be needed to be pulled or extracted, allowing the pus to drain from the socket.
  • Antibiotics: If the infection is limited to the abscessed area, your dentist may recommend antibiotics sometimes.
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