A lot of the work performed by modern dental technicians has moved away from pain relief and emergency help and into the world of aesthetic transformation. A dental implant, for example, is a complex and hi tech process which will take several months to fully complete and will replace a missing or damaged tooth with an exact replica which is totally natural looking and extremely durable. Despite these changes, however, there are still times when a dentist has to come to the rescue of a patient in extreme pain, offering relief and treatment of a more direct and urgent manner, and one of these occasions is when a patient develops a tooth abscess.
What is Abscess: Put simply, an abscess is an infected swelling in the mouth which takes the form of a sac full of bacteria laden pus. The sac is the body’s own reaction to the pus and is an attempt to stop it travelling around the rest of the body, thus spreading infection. An abscess can form either inside the tooth, working its way into the root canal, or it might develop outside the tooth, swelling from the line where the teeth enters the gum. In either case it is very painful and deeply unpleasant, particularly if, as is sometimes the case, it begins to leak small amounts of pus into the mouth or, even worse, bursts and empties itself.
Causes: When an abscess forms it is often as a result of poor standards of dental hygiene, although it can also be a reaction to one or more teeth suffering trauma and damage. Cracks in the surface of the tooth allow bacteria to gather either just below the surface or deep within the pulp of the tooth. This bacteria causes infection and the production of pus, and the patient will be aware of the swelling when it begins to cause a high level of pain.
When an infection begins to attack a certain part of the body, the defence mechanism begins to kick in, and this means bombarding the site with blood cells intended to fight the infection. As a result of this, the site will become red and swollen and the pressure brought about by the extra blood can cause pain and tenderness. In some cases, such as when the pulp inside a tooth had already been killed by infection, the abscess may not begin to throb and cause pain until significant swelling has taken case. In this way, pain can be an early indicator of an abscess or something which only occurs a little further on. In either case, the following are the symptoms to look out for:
If you’re worried that you might have developed an abscess, particularly if you’re experiencing severe pain or swelling, then consult a dentist immediately or, if this isn’t possible, pay a visit to an accident and emergency department. The infection in an abscess can spread through the body very quickly, and can lead to serious illness and even death.
Factors which might lead to an abscess include an accident which leads to the enamel becoming cracked, gum disease being present, broken dental work such as fillings and crowns and a tartar build up around the roots of the teeth. In some cases an abscess can be caused by something as simple as a particle of food getting trapped between the teeth and the gums.