How serious is a tooth abscess?

Categories: General Dentistry

dental abscess at lower jaw of Southeast Asian Taking good care of your teeth is always important, for your comfort, your overall health, and so you can have that gorgeous smile everyone loves to see every day. Another reason to make sure you take good care of your teeth is so you can avoid serious problems, such as a tooth abscess. But what exactly is a tooth abscess, and how can you avoid getting one?

What is a tooth abscess?

Basically, a tooth abscess is an infected tooth, whether the infection is at the root of the tooth or between the root and the gums. Pus and bacteria collect in the infected area, and it will only get worse once it starts – a tooth abscess isn’t something you can treat at home. If it is left untreated it can damage not only the infected tooth, but the teeth around it and even the jaw bone. In the worst case scenario, the infection can spread to the rest of the body and cause serious health issues.

What causes a tooth abscess?

Abscesses happen when there are chips, cracks, or holes in teeth that bacteria can use to get into the tooth. This is why you should see your dentist as soon as possible if you have a damaged tooth.

You should also see your dentist right away if you think you have an infected tooth. Signs of an infection include teeth that are very sensitive to hot and cold, tender gums, a swollen area on the jaw, and tooth pain. An abscessed tooth may even cause a fever and swollen neck glands.

Your dentist will work to save the tooth by draining the abscess and killing any bacteria. You might need to have a root canal to remove infected tissue from inside the tooth. If the infection is very serious, the tooth may have to be taken out.

It’s always important to take good care of your teeth. Brush, floss, eat a healthy diet, and see your dentist for checkups and cleanings. If you think you might have a tooth infection, don’t wait! Call Pacific Northwest Smiles right away. Call 425-357-6400!