If you are experiencing pain in your gums or teeth, it could be a symptom of an abscess. While a toothache may seem like nothing more than a minor inconvenience, it could be more serious than you think. Because abscesses can potentially be life-threatening if not treated, it is crucial that you get checked out by a dentist as soon as possible to find out what’s wrong. Here is more information about abscesses from American Dental, a top general dentistry provider in the Chicago area:
What Is A Tooth Abscess?
An abscess is a pocket of pus caused by a bacterial infection. When seen in the teeth, they usually occur around the tooth roots and can lead to tooth loss if not treated. A periapical abscess is one that is present at the tip of a tooth root, and a periodontal abscess occurs on the side of a tooth root. If left untreated, abscesses can spread into the tooth roots and kill them, eventually causing your tooth to fall out. A severe abscess can also spread infection into other tissues of the body, including the heart and brain, which can be fatal.
What Causes A Tooth Abscess?
There can be a number of factors that contribute to the formation of an abscess, including:
- Poor Oral Healthcare – If you don’t take proper care of your teeth and gums, bacteria can thrive. When they find a way to get into your gum tissue, you could end up with an abscess.
- Damaged Teeth – Cracks, chips, and cavities can all give bacteria a way to get into your tooth roots and gum tissue.
- Gum Disease – Both periodontitis and gingivitis cause your gum tissue to recede, giving bacteria an easier path to infect your gums and tooth roots.
Because a toothache can be a symptom of several different oral health conditions, visiting your dentist is the only way to find out for sure. If you do have an abscess, catching it as early as possible will give you the best chance of saving your tooth. Even if your pain subsides, the bacterial infection could still be raging inside your gums, so we advise you to visit a dentist as soon as you can.
Treating An Abscess
Your dentist will always try the least invasive treatment options first, then move on to other options if necessary. In the case of a minor abscess, treatment with antibiotics may clear it up over a period of time. If the abscess is more severe, your dentist may make an incision to drain out the pus, allowing the affected area to heal. If the infection has spread to the tooth roots, a root canal may be necessary. In this procedure, infected or dead root pulp is removed and replaced with a filler that will protect the tooth in the future. If the infection has killed a significant portion of the root pulp, extracting the affected tooth may be the only option.
Dentist For Tooth Abscesses In Chicago
As we said, early detection is the key to saving your teeth from being lost to an abscess. If you need a checkup or a root canal in Chicago, the dentists and hygienists at American Dental are some of the best in Chicagoland. Call us at (773) 897-3218 or click “Make an Appointment” to find out which one of our 8 locations is most convenient for you and schedule an appointment online today.