A dental abscess involves an infection of an area of your mouth, and oftentimes they develop due to poor dental hygiene or a person’s reluctance to get dental care in a timely matter. They can develop in a number of different areas, including your teeth, gums, mouth, jaw or throat, and they can lead to serious problems if left untreated.
Treating an abscess or a dental infection can be difficult because it involves a change in daily habits that led to the condition in the first place. However, by placing a renewed focus on the health of your teeth and connecting with a professional, we’re confident you can successfully treat the condition. Here’s a closer look at the causes, symptoms and treatment options for dental abscesses.
Causes and Symptoms of Dental Abscesses
As we mentioned above, the causes of dental abscesses are often linked to a lack of dental care. When bacteria is allowed to grow unimpeded in the mouth, teeth or gums, an abscess or infection can set in. This will make the area more painful until the abscess either drains or ruptures. When it develops in the throat, it can even cause breathing difficulties.
Causes of dental abscesses are linked to poor oral health, including activities like irregular brushing, not getting regular dental checkups, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, a poor diet and taking certain medications. Symptoms include:
- Redness of the mouth or face
- Discharge upon rupture
- Oral tenderness
- Difficulty opening your mouth
If an infection has set in, you may also notice symptoms like vomiting, fever, chills or diarrhea.
Diagnosing and Treating Dental Abscesses
Dental abscesses have better outcomes the sooner they are treated, so if you believe you’re dealing with the development of an abscess, contact your dentist and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. If you’re experiencing symptoms associated with an infection, head to a medical facility for an evaluation.
Diagnosing an abscess is pretty simple. The dentist will conduct a physical exam to look for the presence of an abscess, or they may order an x-ray to spot their formation if they are developing within or underneath a tooth.
Once diagnosed, your doctor will talk you through a treatment plan. Treatment may involve opening the abscess to let it drain through a couple of different methods based on their location. Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics to fight off an infection, and they may need to perform a root canal if you’re dealing with an infected tooth. Abscesses can typically be treated rather easily by draining the abscess and removing an infected tooth. That said, prevention is always preferred to treatment, so be sure you are brushing and flossing on a regular basis, and you’re seeing your dentist every six months to spot the warning signs of an issue.
For more information about dental abscesses, or to talk to a dentist about something going on in your mouth, contact Dr. Brooks today.