Dental Abscess | How an Abscessed Tooth can Damage Your Overall Health

dental abscess

Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is an infection of the mouth, face or jaw begins from infected tooth or gums.   The abcess represents as a painful swelling filled with a thick fluid that is yellow in color (pus). There are two different types of dental abscess. First is a gum abscess which is known as a periodontal abscess. The second one is a tooth abscess which is also known as a periapical abscess.

So, what causes a dental abscess?

The gum abscess mostly caused by gum disease. It happens when there is severe periodontal disease or trapped foreign body (such as food or particles) that cannot be removed for an extended period of time.

The tooth abscess can come to be originated from tooth decay, fractures or failed root canal therapy.  Tooth abscess usually seen at the tip of the tooth’s root and usually happens when a tooth’s nerve is dead or dying. The abscess is caused by bacterial invasion to the body and body’s effort to eliminated and fight and localize the infection.

Dental abscess symptoms


Dental abscess symptoms include:

  • a throbbing pain
  • a swelling filled with pus
  • inflammation of the gums
  • teeth that are sensitive to pressure
  • a smelly taste in the mouth which are caused when the pus drains
  • Having fever and chills
  • When you have difficulty breathing or opening your mouth

It is very vital not to ignore these tooth or gum abscess symptoms because the infection can last upto months or years and will not go away without treatment. If abscess is left untreated, the infection will cause damage to the teeth and to the bone surrounding it. It can also go into the bloodstream, causing more serious complications.  The virulent bacteria can travel to the heart and cause endocarditis.

Dental abscess treatment

dental abscess treatment

If you think you have a tooth or gum abscess you should make an appointment with a dental professional immediately.   Our team of doctors can assess the situation and perform procedures along with a right course of antibiotic regimen.

In Office Treatment – Incision and Drainage

Doctor Stella Oh or Dr. Estafan will numb and clean the area around the abscess, perform drainage to release trapped pus and treat the infection. Sometimes, a fistula will develop in the mouth through bone and skin to allow the pus to drain. If this hollow tunnel has developed as a result of your abscess, our doctors will clean this, allowing it to close up on its own.  Depending on the extent of the infection or trauma to the teeth or the gums, the following 3 treatments are usually performed.

  1. If the infection is already present in the tooth, your dentist will need to drain the abscess by making a small hole into the tooth. Root canal treatment and a filling or crown are the best procedures.
  2. There are other cases wherein the abscess have already caused damage to the tooth or is particularly large. For this, you might need to have the tooth removed. A dental implant will be placed if circumstances are favorable and grafting of the bone may be necessary.
  3. But when the abscess is caused by a periodontal disease. Your dentists will treat it first to prevent further infection in the teeth or gums. If the periodontal abscess is severe, the tooth also has to be removed and the patient should consider having dental implant treatments.  Dr. Stella Oh believes that dental implant therapy is the best choice of treatment for aggressive and recurrent periodontal abscess and disease.  

How to prevent a dental abscess

dental abscess prevention

Abscesses can be prevented by maintaining good dental health. This includes daily brushing and flossing as well as regular checkups with our doctors at Madison Avenue Dentists.  

Just like you would take care of the rest of your body with various doctor’s visits, your dental visits should be a priority.  Call us today for an appointment and share this article with someone who may be suffering from this condition.