Kenneth W. Arida, DDS, PC
131 South Euclid Ave, Westfield, NJ 07090

Understanding Dental Abscesses

June 10, 2024

Have you ever heard of a dental abscess? It's not something people talk about often, but it's an important topic to understand. A dental abscess is essentially a pocket of pus that forms at the base of a tooth or in the area between the tooth and gums. This can happen when bacteria invade the inside of your tooth or periodontal tissues.

The Two Types of Dental Abscesses

There are two main types of dental abscesses: periapical and periodontal. A periapical abscess occurs at the end of your tooth's root, often as a result of an untreated cavity, recurrent decay, or injury to the tooth. This can lead to damage of the inner vital tissues of the tooth, causing them to die off and creating a breeding ground for bacteria. The resulting infection can then cause an abscess with pus accumulating at the root tip.

In many cases, a root canal treatment combined with antibiotic therapy can address the source of your periapical abscess, prevent further infection, and preserve your tooth. However, in more severe cases involving extensive structural damage or bone loss, extraction may be necessary.

The Perils of a Periodontal Abscess

A periodontal abscess is also caused by bacterial infection, but it typically occurs alongside the tooth rather than inside it. This type of abscess usually happens when dental plaque and food debris are left around the teeth and gums. Over time, this accumulation can trigger an inflammatory response that worsens the gap or pocket between your teeth and gums, making it harder to clean effectively. Pockets filled with bacteria and debris can then lead to a periodontal abscess.

If left untreated, a periodontal abscess can cause widespread infection, pain, bone loss, tooth loss, and even pose risks to your overall health. That's why it's so important to get prompt attention and care for any signs of an abscess.

Warning Signs of a Dental Abscess

If you notice a gum bubble in the area below the base of your tooth's root or between your teeth, and are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it's time to seek professional dental care:

  • Persistent, severe, throbbing toothache and pain that radiates to the jawbone and neck
  • Sensitivity to hot foods and beverages
  • Sensitivity to touch or biting pressure
  • Swelling in your face or gums
  • Fever
  • Tender, palpable, inflamed lymph nodes
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • A noticeable bubble-like lesion between the teeth or below the teeth
  • A foul smell or taste in your mouth

Prompt Action is Key to Protecting Your Health

In all cases, the key to protecting your health is getting the prompt attention and care required. When left untreated, a dental infection can quickly become more serious and have severe consequences. Emergency medical attention may be necessary in cases of severe swelling, high fever, or difficulty breathing.

We're Here to Help

If you suspect that you might have a dental abscess, don't hesitate to contact us at Kenneth W. Arida, DDS, PC. Our dedicated staff is always ready to provide you with the care and attention you need. Remember, taking care of your oral health is essential for maintaining your overall well-being.

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131 South Euclid Ave
Westfield, NJ 07090