A dental abscess happens when bacteria collects in a closed space in the body and causes an infection around a tooth, in the gum tissues or the bone.
Dental abscesses can be very painful. Two types of dental abscesses exist; periapical (around the tooth root) and periodontal (around the gum). Some may come on suddenly and some may be present for a long time.
Periapical abscesses are caused by bacteria traveling through the pulp space (where the 'nerve' is) down to the bottom end of the root of the tooth.
Periodontal abscesses are caused by bacteria traveling down between the tooth and the surrounding bone. Many times these abscesses occur in those with periodontal disease and the bacteria has already caused bone loss. When bacteria gets wedged into a small closed space such it can festers and cause an abscess.
Symptoms of a dental abscess
Regardless how an abscess forms it is important to have it treated. If you leave a dental abscess untreated it may become large enough to perforate bone and extend into the soft tissue eventually becoming cellulitis, which is very serious.
In order to treat a dental abscess, your dentist will probably prescribe antibiotics to help rid the body of infection. Your dentist might have to drain the abscess to remove the pus.
Dental Abscesses can be very painful and can lead to serious dental problems. Please don't leave an oral infection such as an abscess untreated, talk to your dentist if you think you may have a dental infection.
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