Dental Abscess (Tooth Infection)

Poor oral hygiene, dental decay, fractured teeth, or foreign objects in the mouth can all cause a dental abscess. Symptoms of a dental abscess include a throbbing toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and difficulty chewing or speaking.

If left untreated, a dental abscess can lead to serious complications, such as the spread of infection to other parts of the body, tooth loss, and even sepsis. Treatment options for a dental abscess include draining the abscess, performing a root canal, extracting the tooth, and prescribing antibiotics.

If you suspect you have a dental abscess, seek medical attention immediately to prevent further complications. After treatment, proper post-procedure care is critical to ensure a quick and comfortable recovery.

To prevent a dental abscess, maintain good oral hygiene, limit sugary and acidic foods, and wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports. Contact Black Point Dental immediately for emergency dental services.

Symptoms of a Dental Abscess

Symptoms of a dental abscess may vary depending on the type and severity of the abscess. These may include:

  • Toothache
  • Jawbone pain
  • Redness and swelling in the mouth and face
  • Gum sensitivity
  • Bad breath

Causes of Dental Abscess

Dental abscesses are typically caused by bacterial infections that develop in the soft inner part of the tooth. Poor oral hygiene is a common cause of dental abscesses, allowing bacteria to build up and thrive. 

Additionally, extensive dental decay, fractured teeth, and tooth trauma can all create conditions that increase the likelihood of developing an abscess.

What To Do If You Have A Dental Abscess

If you suspect a dental abscess, it is essential to seek immediate treatment to prevent further complications and severe pain. The first step is to contact Black Point Dental for a consultation. 

While waiting for your appointment, we recommend doing the following to manage the pain:

  • Rinse your mouth regularly with warm salt water or a mild antiseptic solution like hydrogen peroxide. 
  • Be gentle when brushing or flossing the affected area to avoid irritating the abscess. 
  • Avoid applying pressure on the affected tooth.
  • Try to eat soft foods that do not require much chewing. 
  • If you use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or Advil, try to avoid aspirin, which can increase bleeding.

Consequences of Untreated Dental Abscess

If left untreated, dental abscesses can lead to serious complications. The infection can spread to other parts of the mouth and throat, including the jawbone, neck, and sinuses. 

This can lead to the development of a potentially life-threatening condition called sepsis, which occurs when the body's immune system goes into overdrive in response to the infection.

In some cases, a dental abscess can also cause a cyst to form in the bone surrounding the tooth. This can lead to bone loss and even the loss of the affected tooth. In rare cases, the infection can spread to other parts of the body, such as the heart, brain, or lungs, resulting in serious health complications. 

Therefore, it is important to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect you have a dental abscess.

Treatment for Dental Abscess

Dental abscesses are painful and require prompt medical attention. The type of treatment the dentist recommends depends on the severity of the abscess and the extent of the infection. 

In most cases, the abscess needs to be drained to remove the pus and relieve pressure. This may involve making a small incision in the gum to allow the pus to drain out. 

If the abscess is caused by decay or damage to the tooth, a root canal may be necessary to remove the infected pulp and save the tooth. However, in some cases, the tooth may need to be extracted

Antibiotics may also be prescribed to help clear the infection and prevent it from spreading. In any case, it is important to follow the dentist's instructions carefully to ensure effective treatment and prevent further complications.

Post-Procedure Care for a Dental Abscess

After receiving treatment for a dental abscess, following specific post-procedure care instructions is essential to ensure a smooth recovery and prevent further complications.

Take Prescribed Antibiotics as Directed

Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to combat any remaining infection and prevent it from recurring. It's crucial that you take these antibiotics exactly as prescribed for the full duration of the treatment, even if your symptoms improve before you finish the medication. This will ensure the infection is completely eradicated.

Maintain Optimal Oral Hygiene

Keeping your mouth clean and practicing good oral hygiene is essential to prevent future dental abscesses and promote healing. Gently brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily, paying extra attention to the area around the treated tooth. 

Avoid using mouthwashes containing alcohol, as they may irritate the sensitive area. Instead, opt for a saltwater rinse or an alcohol-free mouthwash to aid the healing process.

Avoid Hard and Crunchy Foods

In the days following your dental abscess treatment, avoid hard and crunchy foods that could cause discomfort or damage to the treated area. 

Stick to soft foods and liquids, such as soups, smoothies, yogurt, and mashed potatoes, until your dentist advises you that it's safe to resume your regular diet.

Manage Pain and Swelling

Some pain and swelling are normal after dental abscess treatment. To manage discomfort, apply a cold compress on the outside of your cheek near the treated area, and take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, as needed. If pain and swelling persist or worsen, consult your dentist immediately.

Schedule Regular Dental Check-Ups

Regular dental check-ups are essential for monitoring your overall oral health and catching any potential issues early, including the recurrence of dental abscesses. Schedule check-ups with your dentist every six months, or as recommended, to maintain a healthy smile.

By following these post-procedure care steps, you'll be well on your way to a successful recovery and a healthier, pain-free smile.

Emergency Dental Care for Dental Abscess in Honolulu, HI

Seeking immediate treatment for dental abscesses is crucial for your oral and overall health. Maintain good oral hygiene and get regular dental check-ups to prevent future issues. 

Black Point Dental offers emergency dental care services for dental abscesses. Dr. Patrick Ferguson and his team are ready to assist you with your dental needs. 

Dr. Patrick Ferguson is a member of the Hawaii Dental Association, the American Dental Association, and the American Board of Oral Implantology.  

To schedule an appointment for your family, call us at (808) 955-5922 or request an appointment online. You can also visit our office in Honolulu, HI

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