Dental Abscess: What It Is, Signs, And Treatment

When it comes to your mouth, an emergency can arise and there’s no way you could have seen it coming.  But with a dental abscess, there are usually some signs and symptoms that will alert you to a potential problem. Knowing how to recognize them can save you valuable time when deciding if you should reach out to our dentist in Newport Beach. 

Signs That You Have A Dental Abscess

A dental abscess occurs when a tooth is infected. The following are some signs to look for:

  • Severe and unprovoked pain that lingers or wakes you up at night
  • Pain on your tooth when hot temperatures touch it
  • Discomfort when you chew or bite your teeth together
  • A visible pimple-like fistula on the gum
  • Having an unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Puss coming from your mouth
  • Bleeding gums

how-to-identify-dental-abscessIf you experience any of the above symptoms, you’ll need a dental exam to determine how to proceed. If you’re not yet able to permanently fix the problem, we can at least help you get some temporary relief.

Temporary Treatment With Medication

 After determining that you do in fact have a dental abscess our dentist in Newport Beach may prescribe you an antibiotic.

You should take this medication exactly as prescribed an ensure that you finish the bottle. Once the antibiotic starts to kick in, at about the third day, you may begin to feel pain relief and be tempted to stop your medication.  This will only make your infection come back sooner, so it’s best to complete the whole course.

That being said, it’s also very important to note that, when it comes to dentistry, antibiotics do not cure an abscess. This medication only dulls it down or makes it go away temporarily.  Once you’re diagnosed with a dental abscess it’s there to stay and the only way to get it gone completely is to get the treatment recommended by our dentist in Newport Beach.

Permanently Treating Your Dental Abscess 

There are two ways to get rid of a dental abscess. The condition of your tooth will determine if you have the option of either having a root canal, or a tooth extraction.

  • Root Canal Therapy 

If we determine that there is still enough healthy tooth structure left, and the nerve anatomy of your tooth is ideal, you may be able to have root canal therapy done to save your tooth.

During this treatment, the dentist will make a hole in the biting surface of the tooth to access the nerve tissue.  Then the infected nerve will be removed, and finally, the canals will be sealed off to prevent further contamination.

Root canal therapy is a very common procedure that in most cases gives you predictable results. After this treatment is done our dentist usually follows up by placing a protected crown, or permanent cover over your tooth.

A root canal and a crown together is quite an investment, but with good results, you can benefit from living with your tooth for many years to come.

  • Extracting Your Tooth

If you choose not to have a root canal done that’s fine too.  In fact, due to there not being enough healthy tooth left, some patients may not even have the ability to save their tooth.

A tooth extraction is a cost-effective way to get rid of an abscess for good. By looking at an x-ray of your tooth we can give you an idea of the level of difficulty it will be to remove it. Front teeth and most premolars, that have one or two small roots are relatively easy to get out.  Molars can be challenging because they have three to four roots, which can be long, and crooked.  You may end up needing to go to an oral surgeon who is a tooth removal specialist.

While removing your abscessed tooth might sound like the ideal solution for you, before making your final decision you should stop to consider the side effects of having a missing tooth.

For example, once you have a space from a removed tooth, your neighboring teeth will begin to slant toward the void in an effort to close in the gap.  This can significantly impact your bite in a negative way.

In an effort to find something to touch, the opposing tooth on the opposite arch may become super-erupted, meaning it protrudes out of its socket.

Also, having missing teeth can cause your face to sink in, making you look older and show more wrinkles.

Diagnosing Your Dental Abscess 

When it comes to the ability to save your abscessed tooth, time is of the essence.  At the first signs of this condition, you should call Dr. Yazdan, our dentist in Newport Beach to determine if you do in fact have an infection, and what treatment you’ll need to get it fixed.

If you need a thorough exam to check your teeth for abnormalities, then call our Newport Beach dentist office today.  We look forward to meeting you.

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