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When You Need Surgery for a Tooth Abscess


Posted on 2/10/2017 by Andrew Zeiger
A woman suffering from a dental abcess.
A tooth abscess occurs because of an infection inside of your tooth when the nerve of the tooth is dead or dying. Bacteria cause a pus-filled sac (the abscess) to form, which contains the infection either inside the root of the tooth or just outside of it. Abscesses can be painful, and also dangerous.

Left untreated, the infection can quickly spread throughout the rest of your body. Therefore, it is imperative that you get an abscess treated right away.

Symptoms
Abscesses in the teeth can occur as the result of tooth decay, gum disease or an injury to the tooth that has opened it up to bacterial invasion. They can also happen if a filling becomes infected. Symptoms include:

•  Severe pain, especially when chewing.
•  Toothache.
•  Sensitivity to extreme temperature changes.
•  Inflamed gums.
•  Bad taste in the mouth.
•  Bad breath.
•  Nausea.

It is also possible, especially if the nerve has completely died, that you won't feel any symptoms at all.

Common Treatments
There are a few common treatment options for a tooth abscess. No matter which is used, the abscess itself must be drained to prevent spread of infection.

•  Treating tooth issues or gum disease. Taking care of tooth decay by cleaning it out and administering fillings as soon as they are discovered can take care of abscesses. So, too, can eradicating gum disease.
•  Antibiotics. Antibiotic medication kills any infection causing bacteria that haven't been cleaned out and may have spread to other parts of the body, stopping the spread of infection.
•  Root canals. A root canal cleans out the inside of the tooth and removes the nerve and root, after which the canals are filled and a crown given. The crown preserves your tooth and acts as a barrier to prevent new infection.

Surgical Procedures


Occasionally, when an abscess has been left untreated for a long period of time, surgery is required. If a root canal isn't a viable option, the tooth will need to be removed, and the abscess drained. Any surrounding infected tissue will also then be removed.

If the abscess has spread quite far, for instance to the bottom of the mouth, the abscess will require a surgical procedure to drain it. Surgery may also be required if a root canal doesn't take care of the abscess, and fill in the tips of the tooth roots.

If you suspect you have a dental abscess, contact our office right away to schedule an appointment. The sooner you address the issue, the less severe the treatment plan will need to be.

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