Abscesses are caused by infected tooth nerves. The infection drains through the tip of the root through the nearby gum tissue. If left untreated, an abscess can in some circumstances require hospitalization if the infection spreads into the face, head, or brain. While these side effects aren’t extremely common, they do happen from time to time and it’s important to know that there’s a risk to putting your treatment off.
Treating an Abscessed Tooth
To first treat an abscess, the initial infection must be addressed. This may require a prescription antibiotic to clear up any drainage or pus that is present so that Dr. Timmerman can go in and treat the area much easier. Once controlled, the tooth is treated with a root canal, which will prevent recurrent infection and preserve the tooth. Otherwise, the tooth will continue to become infected as it is no longer vital and the nerve has been destroyed.
A root canal is just like having any other type of dental work done, only it takes a little longer. Dr. Timmerman removes the damaged area of the tooth and then cleans the infected nerve tissue out of the inside chamber of the tooth. A medication is then placed into the chamber, and it is sealed off and covered with a medicated filling until a permanent crown can be made. Ibuprofen can reduce the amount of inflammation and swelling around an abscess for temporary pain relief. Simply treating the tooth with antibiotics is not adequate, as the infection will continue to recur due to the open nerve space allowing bacteria to enter inside of the tooth.
How Can You Tell if Your Tooth is Abscessed?
Most abscessed teeth will have some type of fistula (or “pimple”) on the side of the gums near the root of the tooth. This is caused by swelling and infection inside of the root trying to drain. Other symptoms might include sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet, or even touch.
—Dr. Lance Timmerman