What is a Dental Abscess?

A dental abscess is a serious issue that can cause pain and make you feel terrible. This issue may seem to appear out of nowhere, but it started with damage to your tooth.  Similarly, the abscess will not disappear spontaneously. You need assistance from an endodontist who knows what a dental abscess is and how to treat it, like Dr. Karmali at Lowry Endodontics. To get appropriate treatment, you need to understand what is a dental abscess, how dental abscesses form and their symptoms. This knowledge will help you to get timely treatment before the problem gets worse.  

What Is a Dental Abscess?

A dental abscess is an area of pus buildup in or near a tooth. There are different types of abscesses, depending on their location. For example, a periodontal abscess happens next to a tooth root in the gum, while a periapical abscess forms at the tip of the tooth root.

Often, what happens with the creation of a dental abscess is damage to the tooth’s pulp.  This damage can come from a cavity that wasn’t addressed early enough.  It can also come from a cracked tooth, trauma, or clenching and grinding.  The damage can cause significant discomfort as the pulp dies.  Once the pulp dies, the pain can resolve to give a false sense of hope.  This dead pulp then gets infected and an abscess forms.  These types of jaw infections can remain painless and undetected for many years.  Sooner or later, the infection flourishes causing a return of the pain.  It can also return with swelling.  If you have tooth pain that suddenly disappears or intermittent discomfort in a tooth, it could be a sign of an abscess.  

When the nerve and pulp die, the ability of the tooth to fight infection also dies. From the infected tooth, bacteria can then spread into the jawbone. The infection causes a collection of pus in the jaw to grow. While some people may feel pain, others won’t have any symptoms for years. However, regular dental exams can spot asymptomatic abscesses so that you can receive treatment for them.

What Is a Dental Abscess a Sign of?

A dental abscess indicates bacteria entered a tooth and caused inflammation and infection. This condition indicates the need for prompt care to remove the bacteria from the area before it can spread and impact the integrity of the jaw or teeth. Abscesses can cause loss of bone in the jaw, which makes saving the tooth difficult. Without care, you could lose a tooth due to a dental abscess. However, endodontists, like Dr. Karmali, will do everything possible to help save your tooth.

What Are Symptoms of a Dental Abscess?

Symptoms of a dental abscess can range from nothing to serious pain. Regular dental appointments with x-rays can determine if you have a hidden abscess. However, most patients will experience at least some of the following symptoms of a dental abscess:

  • Tooth sensitivity to touch or pressure
  • Swelling in the face, jaw, or nearby lymph nodes
  • Constant throbbing tooth pain
  • Fever
  • Difficulty eating due to pain and sensitivity to hot and cold

If you have any of the above symptoms, you need to make an appointment with an endodontist. While other problems, such as tooth decay, can cause some of the above symptoms, you should still get an evaluation.  Always have any dental pain evaluated by a professional as soon as possible.  Peace of mind is priceless.  

Will a Dental Abscess Heal Without Treatment?

A dental abscess will not heal on its own. It requires intervention from a dental professional to drain the pus and remove the bacterial infection. 

Though the abscess comes from bacterial infection, taking oral antibiotics won’t cure it. These medications may lessen the pain, but they cannot reach into the infected tooth where the problem lies. Antibiotics rely on the bloodstream to travel to various parts of the body that need them. However, a tooth with an abscess does not have blood traveling through it any longer due to the damage of the internal blood supply. Therefore, antibiotic medications only offer temporary relief.  

What Is the Treatment for a Dental Abscess?

Treatment for a dental abscess typically includes root canal therapy. With care, this type of treatment removes bacteria from inside the tooth’s root canals, taking away the source of infection.  Once the infection inside of your tooth is managed, your body takes over and repairs the damaged jaw bone.  In a matter of months, your jaw bone can fully reform and heal from the damage.  

Appropriate treatment eases pain, removes the infection, and restores the jawbone’s integrity.

How Can Dr. Karmali Help a Dental Abscess?

If you have pain in your jaw or tooth, don’t diagnose yourself. Make an appointment at Lowry Endodontics for an assessment. During this stage, Dr. Karmali will perform a thorough evaluation.  This may include enhanced imaging of your jaw.  This helps him identify the sources of discomfort and see if you have an abscess.  If you do have an abscess, Dr. Karmali will help you decide what your best treatment options are.  

If root canal treatment is right for you, the process will be easy and painless.  Dr. Karmali will open the tooth, remove the diseased pulp and use a laser to disinfect root canals. Lastly, he will fill and seal the tooth to stop bacteria from returning. Typically, patients experience mild to no post-operative discomfort.  Dr. Karmali will carefully follow your healing progress until your jaw fully reforms.  

Come See Us at Lowry Endodontics in Denver If You Have Symptoms of a Dental Abscess

If you have dental pain of any type, whether you suspect an abscess or not, contact us at Lowry Endodontics for an appointment. You will have a thorough evaluation to allow Dr. Karmali to help you decide your best options.  Without care, an abscess can worsen and spread infection. Don’t let this happen. Trust Dr. Karmali and the team at Lowry Endodontics to offer you professional, predictable, compassionate care.