The simplest description of an infection is when germs invade your body and increase their footprint quickly. Infections can come in the form of bacteria, fungi, a virus, yeast, or other microorganism, but the important thing to remember is that they can start anywhere in your body and shouldn’t be ignored.
Your mouth isn’t immune to infection, and a dental abscess is a type of oral issue that often has its origins in poor dental hygiene.
Dr. Ali Saeghi and his able team at Modern Age Dentistry, with offices in Ojai, Los Angeles, and West Hills, California, are eager to assist you with caring for your teeth and mouth, and offer a wide range of services to ensure and maintain your oral health. An abcess is just one type of dental emergency that we can treat effectively and promptly.
The origins of dental abscesses
A dental infection that leads to an abcess can emerge on your gums, jaw, and even your face. The causes of an abscess include:
- Tooth infections
- Gum infections
The broad types of abscesses are divided into three groups: gingival, periodontal, and periapical.
Gingival infections typically start because something gets stuck in your gum, such as food or part of a broken tooth that may get lodged in it if you’ve had an accident. Periodontal abscesses are the results of a bacterial infection in your gums, while periapical abscesses happen when the pulp inside a tooth becomes infected. Periapical abscesses are the most frequently diagnosed type of abscess.
In addition to slacking on good dental hygiene, alcohol consumption, smoking, and nutritional deficits contribute to the development of abscesses. Further, certain medications and medical conditions can make your teeth more susceptible to cavities, which sets you up for an abscess.
What are the symptoms of a dental abscess?
The signs of a dental abscess aren’t pretty. Pus accumulates at your infection site. The pain increases until the abscess either ruptures by itself or we drain it surgically. If an abscess isn’t treated, symptoms can become quite serious. A patient with an abscess may experience swelling that can block the airway, which impedes breathing, and even sepsis, a life-threatening condition in which the infection spreads throughout your system and your body’s immune system no longer protects, but rather harms you.
The infection can also progress to the point where you experience other severe symptoms, like chills, vomiting, and fever. These symptoms alone are daunting and reason enough to take a dental abscess seriously.
Over-the-counter pain medications can relieve abscess pain, and if your abscess pops and drains on its own, simply rinse your mouth with warm water. However, if this doesn’t happen, it’s important to seek treatment from a dental professional.
Dr. Saeghi can also rupture the abscess to make it drain, and some patients get their abscess drained through the tooth prior to a root canal procedure. He may also prescribe pain relievers and antibiotics if needed and the abscess is traced to a bacterial infection.
Very serious abscesses can affect the floor of your mouth or your neck, and these need to be addressed surgically.
The value of emergency dentistry services
Dental abscesses are a prime example of a condition that can balloon in seriousness until you realize you need immediate care from your dentist. We often think of getting a tooth knocked out after an accident or experiencing pain that’s hard to tolerate as being true dental emergencies, but an abscess certainly belongs in this category as well.
The severity of an abscess generally defines whether it requires treatment by a professional. As we noted before, the abscess may take care of itself, but if it doesn’t, seek treatment from us to get your abscess properly and safely drained. Then you can get on the road to healing.
Modern Age Dentistry’s comfortable offices and welcoming staff put you at ease if you come to us needing help with an abscess. We also think it’s important to know that we offer a payment option to patients who are uninsured, which gives you peace of mind when it comes to knowing you’ll be able to get the care you need.
Value your comfort and dental health by making an appointment with us if you suspect you have a dental abscess, or book an appointment through our website.