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What Is a Dental Abscess and How Is It Treated?

jaw pain in young adult womanA dental abscess is a pocket of pus around a tooth caused by an infection that can cause severe pain and discomfort in the mouth. It’s important to be aware of the signs of a dental abscess, so that you can receive prompt treatment. If the abscess isn’t addressed quickly, the infection could spread to the gums and bone of the mouth. The infection can result from an untreated cavity, gum disease or following injury.

What Are the Symptoms?

A dental abscess can cause various symptoms that may vary depending on the severity and location of the infection. Common signs and symptoms include pain either in the affected area, or it can radiate along the jaw, neck or up around the ears , swelling and redness in the face or mouth, fever, bad breath, difficulty swallowing or speaking, difficulty opening the mouth and tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.

Treatment for Dental Abscesses

It is important that the abscess be removed and there are many ways to treat it. Ideally, treatment is performed straight away but sometimes this is not possible and antibiotics will need to be taken. Antibiotics help kill as much bacteria as possible in the infected tooth or gum tissue and stop the infection from spreading further, however unfortunately they usually only provide a stop-gap option.

In nearly all cases further dental work will be needed and some options may be root canal therapy, deep cleaning or removal of the offending tooth.

Relieving Pain

Until you can see a dentist, there are a few home remedies that may relieve some of the discomfort caused by the infection.

Saltwater rinse

This easy and affordable solution can encourage wound healing and healthy gums.

  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of regular table salt to 1/2 cup of warm water.
  • Rinse your mouth with the salt water. For optimal results, swish it around inside your mouth for at least two minutes.
  • Spit the water out.
  • Rinse your mouth with the solution up to three times daily.

Chlorhexidine mouthwash

Available at all pharmacies, this is an antiseptic and disinfectant. It helps reduce the number of germs in your mouth. It can help with infections, mouth ulcers, gum disease and sore throats. Follow the instructions on the bottle for best results.

Baking soda

Baking soda can effectively remove plaque in the mouth and has powerful antibacterial properties.

  • Combine 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda with a dash of salt and 1/2 cup of water.
  • Swish the mixture in your mouth for approximately five minutes.
  • Spit it out, and repeat until you’ve finished the mixture.
  • Rinse with this solution up to two times per day.

Same-Day Treatment

If you or a loved one is experiencing tooth-related pain or trauma, it’s important to see a dentist immediately. When that’s the case, our goal is to accommodate emergencies on the same day whenever possible. If you suspect you have an abscess, call Shenton Park Family Dental to book an appointment.

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