If you have been told that you have an abscessed tooth, you likely have many questions. What is a tooth abscess? What are the symptoms? Do you treat a tooth abscess in your Grosse Pointe dental office?
Long story short, a tooth abscess should be treated as soon as possible. It is a sign of a tooth infection or possible tooth fracture, and if you don’t get the tooth abscess treated soon, it may have a negative impact on your overall health. It can also be painful and uncomfortable.
Make an appointment to see our dentist in Grosse Pointe for tooth abscess treatment. At that time Dr. Holtzman will answer any specific questions you may have about the causes of your infection and the treatment options that are right for you.
In the meantime, following are general answers to some of the questions you may have.
What is a tooth abscess?
A tooth abscess is a bacterial infection in a tooth that causes a pocket of pus to form as a result. The pocket usually forms on your gums near the tooth or at the root of the tooth.
Most commonly, the infection results from an untreated cavity, failed root canal, or tooth fracture. In some cases, the abscesses are associated with gum disease.
What are the symptoms?
Tooth abscess symptoms and signs differ depending on the location of the tooth, how long you have had the infection, and the cause and extent of the infection. In addition to the bubble on the gums, common symptoms include:
- A severe, throbbing toothache that you may also feel in the jawbone, neck, or ear
- Sensitivity to the pressure of chewing or biting
- Swelling in your face or cheek
- Swollen lymph nodes under your jaw or in your neck
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing, which is when you may need emergency care due to the possibility that the infection has spread
In some cases, you might not feel the associated pain because a root canal may have already been performed on the affected tooth. If that’s the case, the most noticeable sign of infection would be the pocket of pus that forms.
Typically, the pocket eventually drains itself after a few days, but it then reforms a couple days later. This will occur repeatedly until you get the tooth abscess treated. When the pocket ruptures, you may experience a sudden, temporary rush of salty fluid in your mouth that has an unpleasant taste and smell.
How is it treated?
How a tooth abscess is treated depends on the cause and extent of the tooth infection.
You may be given antibiotics as one of several steps in treating the infection. In some cases, some dentists may drain the abscess to provide the patient with some temporary relief until a more significant procedure can be performed.
A more permanent solution is to treat the affected tooth with a root canal, extraction, or other appropriate procedure.
What impact could an abscess have on my overall health?
The abscess forms due to bacteria, and if that bacteria gets into your bloodstream, it could harm your overall health. Some studies even show plaque buildup in the arteries that is consistent with the substances that form in a tooth abscess, which means it could affect your heart health.
It’s also associated with sinus infections, and it may have a negative impact on your bone health.
Will my insurance pay for this procedure?
A tooth abscess is often considered an urgent dental procedure. It is common for dental insurance to cover abscess drainage, root canal treatments, and dental extractions, depending on your provider and the dentist’s policies.
Contact your insurance company to determine the specific details. Call our Grosse Pointe dental office for more information about our insurance policies or to make an appointment for tooth abscess treatment.