Unfortunately, we’re not able to reach particles that become trapped between the gums and tooth itself. When bits of food remain between the teeth and gums, it can trigger an infection that leads to a tooth abscess. There are two common oral abscesses: a tooth abscess (periapical abscess), and a gum abscess (periodontal abscess).
General Information about Tooth Abscesses
Most tooth abscesses are extremely painful. In most cases, they look like small red pimples on the gums and are very painful.
An abscess can make it difficult to chew, drink hot or cold beverages, and even open the jaw. As the body fights the infection, the affected area will begin to fill with pus, creating pressure in the sinuses and head.
It’s important to note that all tooth abscesses are caused by an infection somewhere in the mouth. The bacteria cannot be treated without proper medical intervention, which is why it’s critical all tooth abscess are examined by a dental professional immediately. It is never wise to treat the infection with home remedies or over the counter pain medications. If left untreated, the infection can last for years.
A periodontal abscess occurs when an infection starts in the small gap between a tooth and the surrounding gums. These abscesses are caused by either advanced periodontitis (when gums begin to pull away from the teeth) or trauma to the mouth.
A periapical abscess occurs when an infection occurs as a result of a dying or dried tooth nerve. This particular infection is caused when pus from a dying tooth spreads from the root to the gum, where the extreme pressure caused by the build-up of pus collects. It isn’t uncommon for this type of abscess to cause an infection that spreads from one tooth to another, making it all the more important to have the infection treated by a dental professional immediately.
What to Do if you Have an Abscess
It’s important to take any abscess seriously. If it is left untreated, the infection from that part of your mouth can spread to other areas of the body and can potentially cause chronic health problems. Once you become aware of an abscess, it’s recommended that you reach out to a dentist for an appointment – if your pain is severe, consider an urgent care appointment to have the problem addressed quickly. In the meantime, rinse your mouth out regularly with a ½ of a teaspoon of salt mixed into an 8-ounce glass of water to help fight the infection.
Once your dentist appointment arrives, your oral health professional will clean the infection. Once this crucial first step is completed, the infection will be treated from home with antibiotics and is likely to heal quickly without any additional complications. If you’re ready to make an appointment for a tooth infection or abscess, contact our office today at (540) 967-5800 to schedule a consultation.