What is dental abscess?
A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that accumulates due to a bacterial infection. Abscesses can form in different regions of the gums. It is a part of our natural defence mechanism, aimed to block the infection from reaching other areas. Dental abscesses can be very painful.
Types of dental abscess
There are three main types of oral abscess: periodontal, periapical and gingival. A periapical abscess usually begins in the pulp/nerve inside the tooth and develops on the root tip. Periodontal abscess occurs deeper into the gum pockets next to a tooth root. A gingival abscess usually occurs on the surface of the tissue at the gum line of the teeth.
Symptoms of dental abscess
Symptoms of a tooth abscess also include throbbing toothache that radiates to the jawbone, neck or ear, difficulty in chewing or biting, swelling in your face accompanied by severe, persistent pain.
Causes of dental abscess
Tooth abscess occurs when tooth decay is left to spread, and bacteria invade the dental pulp. Bacteria usually enters through a dental cavity or a chip or crack in the tooth and spreads down to the root. Abscess also result from external damage to the gum, gingivitis, trauma or due to complications from dental surgery such as root canal treatment and extractions
Risk factors of developing tooth abscess is usually due to untreated cavities in the tooth or trauma to the tooth.
Taking care of your teeth and avoiding tooth decay is essential to preventing a tooth abscess. This includes using fluoridated drinking water, using dental floss or an inter-dental brush to clean between your teeth, brushing your teeth at least twice a day and rinsing your mouth after food. It’s also important to eat healthy food and visiting your dentist for regular checkups and professional cleaning (Scaling).