An abscessed tooth is a dental condition in which the soft tissue inside the root canal, also called dental pulp, has become inflamed and infected. The infection usually occurs when a dental cavity goes untreated and bacteria have spread deep within the tooth. Left untreated, an abscess can progress to a serious, life-threatening bacterial infection throughout the entire body.
Signs You May Have an Abscess
- Continuous sharp or throbbing pain
- Pain when chewing
- Red, swollen gums
- Swollen neck or jaw
- Bitter taste in the mouth or bad breath
Treatment of an Abscess
If your tooth has an abscess, your treatment options consist of root canal therapy to clean and remove the infection, or endodontic surgery. Your endodontist may also choose to add an antibiotic to your treatment plan. This will prevent the infection from spreading further into the jaw and bone tissue. After your treatment, you will need to return to your dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function.
Tooth Abscess Prevention
The good news about a dental abscess is that it’s easily preventable! Schedule regular exams by your dentist to monitor and address any cavities. Also, making sure to follow effective home-care practices, such as brushing twice a day and flossing, and eliminating excess sugar in your diet, are simple ways you can prevent an abscessed tooth.