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Dr. David A. Mugford
Dr. Tassos Sfondouris
1660 Village Green
Crofton, MD 21114

Call Us: (410) 260-0790

Is Your Pain a Dental Abscess?

Posted on 11/15/2016 by Dr. David Mugford
An elderly woman having a dental abscess examined.
A dental abscess is an infection and can occur in either your gums or your tooth, usually as a result of gum disease. In your gums, an abscess happens after food gets trapped below the gum line and bacteria begin to feed upon it.

In your tooth, the bacteria have infected the nerve, and the root is either dead or dying. In either case, a dental abscess is serious.

What Happens?
When bacteria have infected your gums or your tooth, it multiplies, and begins to build up. It then begins to spread into the jawbone, causing damage to the bone itself and the surrounding area as a space opens up in the bone for the infection to drain.

Once in the bone, the infection spreads into the bloodstream. From there, it spreads throughout the whole body, leading to a whole host of other issues, including heart disease and stroke.

Symptoms of Dental Abscess

Symptoms of a dental abscess include:

•  Fever.
•  General feeling of illness.
•  Pain while chewing.
•  Tooth sensitivity.
•  Bitter taste.
•  Foul breath.
•  Swollen gums.
•  Fistulas (which look like pimples on the gums).
•  Swollen neck glands.

If a dental abscess is suspected, your dentist will do an X-ray to confirm. If you do have an abscess, the bacteria will first be drained. You may be referred to a periodontist. A deep cleaning of your teeth, including scaling and root planing, which smooth the surface of your teeth making it more difficult for new bacteria to attach, will be performed. Antibiotics may be prescribed to kill off any remaining bacteria in your body.

If the abscess is in your tooth, a root canal will be performed, which removes the nerve in the tooth and cleans out the space inside, before being sealed with a crown to prevent new infection.

Oral hygiene is also crucial to preventing a new infection from happening. This includes brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily. And you should visit your dentist at least twice a year for thorough cleanings and exams.

A dental abscess is serious, and symptoms should not be ignored. If you suspect an abscess, contact our office right away.

1660 Village Green
Crofton, MD 21114

Call Us
(410) 260-0790

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