8 July 2021
TOOTH ABSCESS: SYMPTOMS, CAUSES & PREVENTION
Toothache is a common phenomenon at any stage of life that is mainly due to improper oral hygiene. Have you experienced a sudden flash of pain while eating or drinking? You might assume it to be teeth sensitivity and try home remedies for it. But the tooth pain could also be due to other dental infections such as tooth abscess. A tooth abscess is pus formed in your teeth or gums that cause severe pain. A detailed overview of tooth abscess, its causes, symptoms and prevention of tooth abscess is mentioned below.
WHAT IS A TOOTH ABSCESS?
A tooth abscess, also known as a dental abscess is a pocket of pus formed inside the teeth or the gums. The pus formed is a consequence of the bacterial infection in the tooth due to plaque formation. The pain caused in the tooth travels further to the ear, neck and head as well.
TYPES OF TOOTH ABSCESS
There are three different portions of teeth where a tooth abscess might be impacted.
- PERIAPICAL ABSCESS
A periapical abscess is when the bacteria attacks the pulp of your tooth and infects it. Pulp is the inner layer of the tooth made of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues. It usually gets covered by the outer protective layer of the teeth, known as enamel. Enamel is so strong that it withstands most of the attacks and protects the inner tissues of teeth. But when the bacterial growth increases in the mouth, the acids released by bacteria erode the enamel and form a cavity. The hole created by the cavity enables the bacteria to travel to the inner tissues of teeth like dentin and then the pulp. When the pulp gets infected, there is a swelling or inflammation at the tip of the tooth root. This condition is known to be a periapical abscess. Periapical abscess also occurs due to tooth cracks or chipped teeth because of an accident or teeth grinding.
- PERIODONTAL ABSCESS
Plaque usually settles on the surface of the gums, known as gumline. When you leave the plaque untreated for long, the bacteria in it infect your gums, causing Periodontitis gum disease. A periodontal abscess occurs at this spot on the gums next to the tooth root. However, it does not remain static and continuously spreads to the neighboring tissues and bones.
- GINGIVAL ABSCESS
Gingival abscess, as the name suggests is the pocket of puss formed on the gums due to the bacterial infection. It causes swollen and reddish gums along with gum inflammation.
SYMPTOMS OF TOOTH ABSCESS
Toothache is one of the major symptoms of tooth abscess, however, it also shows other symptoms as follows:
- Tooth pain while biting and chewing food
- Teeth sensitivity while drinking/eating
- Swelling in the cheeks
- Swollen and red gums
- Bad breath & bad taste
- Tooth pain reaching the jaws, ear and neck
- Loosening of teeth
CAUSES OF TOOTH ABSCESS
- Bacterial Infection: A tooth abscess is caused by a bacterial infection and plaque formation.
- Poor Dental Hygiene: When you do not brush and floss your teeth regularly, plaque builds up in the teeth and cause infection.
- Dry Mouth: Leaving your mouth dehydrated or drinking too many acidic drinks and alcohol leaves your mouth dry. Dry mouth means decreased production of saliva that washes out harmful bacteria and acids from the mouth. This, in turn, increases bacterial settlements in the mouth and the infections caused by them.
- Consuming too much sugar: Sugary foods get highly relished by bacteria than your taste buds. Bacteria in the mouth feed on these sugary foods and form harmful acids that break away the enamel, causing a cavity. And as already mentioned, the cavity further leads to tooth abscess.
- Accidents: When you fall or meet with an accident, your teeth might be impacted. Your tooth might either be cracked or suffer a huge blow on the gums and the jaws. In both cases, the risk of tooth abscess increases and hence, visiting a dentist immediately after you suffer a blow on your teeth is necessary.
- Teeth Grinding: Grinding of teeth is linked to a neurological disorder, but it impacts dental health badly. When you grind your teeth, the upper and lower teeth surfaces are impacted and get chipped. Chipped tooth paves way for bacteria to reach the inner tissues and pulp of the teeth.
HOW CAN TOOTH ABSCESS BE PREVENTED?
- Follow Good Dental Hygiene
Every night plaque builds up on your teeth due to the bacteria in the mouth, and hence brushing of teeth is mandatory in the morning as well as in the night to remove the plaque formed. Brushing removes plaque from the outer surfaces of teeth, but the bristles cannot reach the interior gaps between the teeth. Bacteria take advantage of this limitation and forms plaque in those narrow gaps. However, when you floss your teeth using a thin cord, it cleans every gap and nook and corner of the teeth, thus removing the plaque and preventing dental damage. Hence regularly follow the best dental hygiene routine.
- Have a Healthy Diet
Limit the consumption of sugary foods and acidic foods and drinks to inhibit bacterial growth and plaque formation. Also, whenever you consume sticky and sugary or acidic foods, rinse your mouth with mouthwash, brush and floss your teeth after the consumption to minimize the risk of bacterial growth.
- Keep Your Mouth Hydrated
Do not leave your mouth dehydrated, however, hydration does not mean consuming too many sodas, colas and sugary juices. Consumption of these drink would, in turn, harm your oral health. Water is the best beverage for your oral health and hence drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated and increase saliva production.
- Get your Dental Defects Treated at the Earliest
As mentioned in the causes for tooth abscess, dental defects and disorders like cavities, chipped teeth, grinding teeth increase the risk of tooth abscess. Hence these dental defects treated at the earliest to prevent further complications.
- Regular Dental Checkup
Getting a regular dental checkup saves you from dental complications. The dentist assesses your dental health, detects and treats any dental defects in the initial stages to prevent further complications.
You can visit our dental clinic, The Elite Dental Care, one of the best dental clinics in Tracy, California for your regular dental check-up and the treatment of tooth abscess. We perform painless dental surgeries and cosmetic dental procedures to enhance your smile.