Dental abscess: how to identify and treat it?

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Dental abscess: how to identify and treat it?
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A dental abscess is a bacterial infection which is often very painful.  Affecting the tooth or the gum, it should be treated as quickly as possible to limit the risk of any serious complications.  

What is a dental abscess?

First you should know that there are two types of dental abscesses:

  • Periodontal abscess, often occurs in patients suffering from tooth loss;
  • Periapical abscess, is the result of a tooth fracture or an unhealthy cavity.

In both cases, pain is produced as a result of swollen gums, abnormal bleeding and puss that comes from the affected tooth.

What are the causes?

Most of the time a dental abscess develops as a result of a deep cavity that has not been cared for.
This infection can also be a result of dental trauma such as a recent shock, an injury to the gums or even from wisdom teeth that are starting to appear at the back of the mouth.   This tends to happen from the age of eighteen years old.

What are the symptoms?

An abscess is characterised by an intense and throbbing pain. It occurs subtly, lasts a few minutes to a few hours and can get worse over the next few days. The pain can sometimes spread to the face, the ear or the neck near to the toothache.

What’s more the patient suffering from the abscess will feel:

  • Dizziness and/or extreme tiredness;
  • Feverish;
  • Concentration and sleeping difficulties;
  • Swollen gums or even a swollen face;
  • Difficulties in opening the mouth, chewing or eating;
  • Sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures in the mouth.

What are some pain relieving solutions?

Remember that a dental abscess does not cure itself.  When the first signs of pain appear don’t wait too long before contacting your dentist. A abscess that is not dealt with can lead to more serious complications such as losing a tooth or can even trigger a cyst or infect the jawbone. In extremely rare cases, if the bacteria the abscess produces reaches the heart via blood tissues, a dental abscess can bring about death.

While you are waiting for your dentist appointment here are a few pieces of advice that you can follow:

  • Take a paracetamol tablet: (avoid any anti-inflammatory medicines which will only aggravate the infection.)
  • Make a mouth wash with bicarbonate of soda: (Dilute a spoonful of bicarbonate of soda in a glass of water)
  • Put a clove on the painful tooth in your mouth or drink a clove infusion.
  • Continue to brush your teeth as normal after eat meal.

You can also read: 4 recipes to make your own organic tooth paste

dents brosser enfant orthodontie
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How to prevent a dental abscess?

Brushing your teeth after every meal with a soft-bristled brush is the main way to prevent a dental abscess or toothache.  Dental floss is also recommended so that you can access those hard to get to zones.

Finally you should always make an appointment with your dentist for a check-up at least once a year.  They will check that no cavities are forming, that the gums are healthy and then clean the plaque from your teeth.

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