Getting Rid Of A Tooth Abscess
A tooth abscess develops at the root of the tooth when infection occurs due to trauma or poor oral hygiene. Some other causes of infection include tooth decay and large cavities. Once cavities are large enough, the bacteria that naturally exist in the oral cavity make their way into the root canal chamber. As bacteria feed and cavities grow the infection begins to develop into an abscess.
An individual who has poor dental hygiene practices creates the perfect environment for rapid bacterial growth. Prevention is key here, so putting in place good oral hygiene practices is the first step. A good oral hygiene routine consists of flossing, brushing and rinsing to decrease the level of bacteria that exist in the mouth.
To determine whether or not you are experiencing this bacterial infection consider the following:
- Do you have a toothache?
- As the abscess grows the weight of it increases as the pocket fills with pus. The pain you are experiencing is due to the pressure that the abscess is putting on the nerve. Even if this pain is intermittent or seems tolerable it may quickly become unbearable as more pus accumulates.
- Are you experiencing tooth sensitivity where there was once none?
- Insensitivity to hot or cold substances could mean that an abscess is growing even if it is not yet visible.
- Is it difficult to open and close your mouth?
- Pericoronitis abscesses make it difficult to open and close your mouth.
- Is there swelling on the gums?
- Swelling is an increased movement of fluid and white blood cells into an inflamed area. Swelling along with pain and redness are the most common symptoms of a periodontal abscess.
- Do you have a bad taste or smell emitting from your mouth?
- When an abscess ruptures it is not only dangerous but it also tastes and smells really bad. What you are tasting and smelling is the infectious pus as it oozes out of the pocket. If this occurs you should seek treatment immediately.
Is An Abscess Dangerous
An abscess can be dangerous if left untreated. The danger associated with an abscess comes along once the infection begins to spread to other areas. Infection can spread to your jaw, brain, ears, and the throat and can even develop into sepsis.
Sepsis is a life-threatening infection that spreads throughout the body affecting all systems. Individuals with weaker immune systems or have been prescribed immunosuppressant medications are at an increased risk of bacterial infections spreading to the rest of the body.
The bacteria in an abscess spreads throughout the body via the bloodstream. Considering the fact that there is no part of the body that is untouched by the bloodstream it is also safe to assume that if bacteria spreads then every part of the body is at risk of infection. Abscesses have been known to cause problems mainly in the mouth, brain, and in the reproductive system.
How To Get Rid Of A Tooth Abscess
A trip to the dentist is the fastest way to get rid of a tooth abscess. Your dentist will examine the infected tooth and the area around it. There may be some discomfort because the dentist will have to touch the infected area.
To get a deeper look into the infected area your dentist will take X-rays of the mouth. These x-rays will tell him or her if the infection can be treated with a round of antibiotics or if other treatment will be necessary. If no surgical treatment is necessary you will be prescribed antibiotics to reduce bacterial growth. You may also be prescribed a prescription painkiller or be advised to take an over the counter medication to eliminate the pain.
If the infected area is severely damaged your dentist may administer one of two options.
Option 1 is a root canal. If the outer layers of the tooth are still intact a root canal procedure will be done to cleanse and disinfect the root chamber. A cap will be placed on top of the tooth to prevent further bacterial growth and stop tooth decay.
Option 2 is an extraction. If the tooth’s outer layer is severely damaged an extraction may be done to completely remove the remaining tooth. The area where the tooth once lived will be replaced with a partial denture or dental implant.
Home Treatment Options
Managing your abscess at home is only suggested if you have scheduled and are waiting for a dental appointment. Schedule your appointment with your practitioner but in the meantime here are some things that you can do to reduce pain.
Side note: If you are experiencing less pain or no pain this does not mean that the infection is not growing or spreading. It is still imperative that you seek the assistance of a qualified dental professional.
Abscess Pain Management
Tooth pain can be managed temporarily with an over the counter medication like ibuprofen.
Clove oil is also a great natural way to help reduce the pain.
It is best for you to sleep with your head elevated in order to alleviate some of the pressure that is being placed on the nerve. Make yourself comfortable by reducing the swelling if you can. Apply a cold compress to the area if you can do so without experiencing great sensitivity.
Control Bacterial Growth
Keep the area moist by rinsing with warm water. Dry mouth increases the ability for bacteria to grow. Try adding baking soda to the water since it does have antibacterial properties. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a 1/2 cup of water. Swish it around your mouth for up to 5 minutes spit it out and repeat until you finish the full cup. Do this at least 3 times a day to help reduce bacterial growth.
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