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All About Abscesses

An abscess is a small area of pus that has built up as a result of a bacterial infection. The immune system of the body reacts and sends white blood cells into the area to try to get rid of the bacteria. When there is no way for this pus, which is a mix of enzymes, to live and dead white blood cells and parts of destroyed cells and tissues to drain away, an abscess forms.

An abscess can form in almost every part of the body. They form in the mouth around the roots of teeth, in gum tissue or around the area of the tooth. They are caused by bacteria that enters via a cavity, from food or debris that has been embedded into the gum or in a deep periodontal pocket. Those who are at risk of developing an abscess are those who have a lowered resistance to infection.

At first, the abscess can cause a toothache, which can be quite severe, the tooth becomes infected, and the infection can then burrow through and into the gum which forms a boil that ruptures into the mouth. Although when the abscess ruptures the tooth pain will decrease, you still need your dentist in Parramatta to treat it.If the abscess doesn’t drain properly, the infection can spread to other areas of the head and neck and can become life-threatening.

Symptoms of an abscess include persistent throbbing pain, and the tooth can become sensitive to heat, and pressure when chewing food. If left untreated you may develop a fever, swollen lymph nodes under the jaw and neck may become tender and you may feel pain in the sinus area. If an abscess ruptures a horrible tasting and smelling liquid will pour into your mouth.

Your dentist at our Parramatta clinic will be able to diagnose a tooth abscess by examining your mouth, he or she may take an x-ray to look for bone erosion around the tip of the tooths root. Or your dentist may push on the swollen area of gum and do a vitality test to see if the tooth is still alive. A vitality test may involve –

  • Temperature testing
  • Gentle tapping on the tooth
  • Examining the gums around the tooth

Once the abscess has been drained most symptoms will disappear within a few days, but the abscess itself won’t be cured until the cause has been eliminated.

Good oral hygiene can help prevent abscesses but keeping teeth and gums free from food and debris, regular dental check-ups are important.

Saving a tooth that has an abscess begins with draining the infection, but root canal treatment may be needed and should be started immediately to remove any diseased tissue.

If you have a toothache or have an abscess visit your dentist in Parramatta on 800 400 55 and one of our friendly team will be happy to take care of you.

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