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Abscess Tooth Treatment

An abscessed tooth is a serious but common dental condition. It is typically very painful and requires professional dental treatment to resolve. 

What is an abscessed tooth?

An abscessed tooth occurs when pus builds up in the dental pulp, the pocket of tissue inside a tooth that surrounds the roots. Bacteria can get into this delicate space through untreated cavities, cracks in the tooth or by leaving gum disease untreated. Once bacteria has been introduced to the pulp, the body’s natural defense is to send white blood cells to the area to fight off any infection. Trapped beneath the tooth’s surface, these cells begin to accumulate and create a pus pocket.

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What happens if I don’t get treatment for my abscessed tooth?

Dental abscesses will not resolve on their own, so without treatment, they will progress into bigger problems. The pain in general will likely be so severe it could impact your ability to eat or drink, speak normally or function in your day to day life, while in the most severe cases, the infection can travel to your jaw bone and/or blood stream. 

If you suspect you may have an abscessed tooth, schedule an appointment at a Castle Dentist location today. Abscessed tooth treatment is just one of the many comprehensive dental care services we offer, and the sooner you can be treated, the better the chances we can preserve the tooth and save you from long term health and financial consequences. 

What are the causes of an abscessed tooth?

Dental abscesses can develop as a result of poor oral hygiene, decay, or damage, such as from an injury. Only a dentist can determine the cause and specific location of a dental abscess.

Causes of an abscessed tooth:

  • Untreated tooth decay is the most common reason a person may develop an abscess. Cavities are small spots of erosion and decay that occur when there is an accumulation of bacteria, sugar and acid. They can be easily treated with a simple filling. However, left untreated, the cavity will grow larger and larger as more decay erodes away the enamel. Once the cavity has reached deep into the tooth, the bacteria begins affecting the soft tissue (pulp) found beneath the enamel causing a buildup of pus. 
  • A cracked tooth is another way bacteria can gain access to the pulp of a tooth. This can happen when eating something hard like ice or candy or when participating in contact activities, such as sports or other physical activities. Cracks can easily go undetected until the infection has already set it. This is why it is so important to attend regularly scheduled cleanings and checkups. During such an appointment, your dentist would likely find the crack, treating it before it became a more painful and costly problem. 
  • Gum disease develops when tartar and plaque build up beneath the gum line. This can cause pockets to form inside the gums, leaving the roots and pulp exposed and vulnerable. When this happens, bacteria can easily find its way into the pulp, resulting in painful infection. 

What are abscessed tooth symptoms?

The symptoms of a dental abscess can range from mild discomfort to severe pain and fever. 

Symptoms of an abscessed tooth:

  • Pain is the most common and noticeable symptom of a dental abscess, and it will be the biggest indicator that there is a serious problem occurring. The pain can be sharp and quick or it can be dull and persistent. It can be in a specific, isolated location or it may feel like a whole section of your mouth is hurting. Dental abscess pain can be exacerbated by hot or cold foods or drinks. 
  • Other common symptoms may include a mild fever, swelling of the jaw, pimple-like lesions and gum soreness. All are indicators that infection has set in and you need professional treatment. 

What treatments are used for an abscessed tooth?

The ideal treatment for your dental abscess will depend on a number of factors, such as the extent of the damage and which tooth is affected.

Treatments for an abscessed tooth:

  • Antibiotics are almost always prescribed for dental abscesses in conjunction with other treatments. Not only do they fight the current infection, but they also prevent it from spreading into other teeth or soft tissue. It is important to take the medication as prescribed for the duration of the treatment time, even if the pain begins to subside.
  • Another treatment option is to drain the infection from the gums. After administering local anesthesia, your dentist makes a small incision in the gums to remove the built up pus, relieving the pressure causing the discomfort. However, although it eases the pain of a dental abscess, draining the gum will not treat the infected tissue, so additional treatment will be necessary. 
  • The most common and effective treatment for an abscessed tooth is a root canal. After administering a local anesthetic, your dentist will use specialized tools to drill down into the tooth to expose the pulp and roots. With suctions, lasers and cleaning solutions, the infected tissue is removed. Resins or other materials are then used to fill the hole and a crown is placed on top to protect the hole and the tooth as it heals and to prevent further bacteria from entering the newly-cleaned tooth. 
  • Extraction is usually the last resort for treating a dental abscess. However, if the infection has persisted for a long time and the damage is extensive, removal may be the only option. Using local anesthesia, the tooth is removed from the jaw and any remaining infected tissue cleaned out.  Then you’ll be treated with antibiotics. After the socket has healed, you can begin exploring replacement options such as a bridge, implant, or crown.  

How much does treatment for a dental abscess cost?

Treating a dental abscess can be costly, but it is also necessary, and getting treatment sooner rather than later can help you avoid even more expensive procedures in the future. Dental insurance will typically help pay for some or all of the procedure but you may still need to spend some money out of pocket. 

At Castle Dental, we don’t believe cost should ever stand in the way of quality dental care, so we offer a variety of financing options and payment plans to help you afford the treatment necessary for a dental abscess. Contact an office today to find out more about ways to save, including our OneSmile Dental Plan, which provides discounted dental services and free x-rays and exams for all members.

Treat Your Abscessed Tooth at Castle Dental

Treatment for your abscessed tooth can’t wait. With multiple locations, extended hours, and even emergency care available at many of our offices, Castle Dental makes it easy and convenient for you to get the care you need to help relieve the pain and protect your oral health. Find the Castle Dental nearest you and schedule an appointment today.