Abscessed Tooth Symptoms, Types, Treatment and What To Do

Any kind of an abscess is serious and severe, and should be treated immediately. When bacteria gains access to a tooth's pulp tissues this can result in a painful infection known as an abscess.

In the phenomenal story of the world's greatest race horse, “Secretariat", he blemished his total winning record by losing an important race because of an abscessed tooth. After proper treatment, Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby in the fastest time ever. He also won the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes that same year, making him one of the few horses of all time to win the Triple Crown. If the abscessed tooth had not been treated immediately, he would have lost it all.

The following video features more details of an abscessed tooth and visually demonstrates how a crack, leaking dental restoration like a crown or large tooth filling, or even a lateral canal through gum recession can start the painful infection. The video concludes with several treatment options such as antibiotic therapy, endodontic treatment or removal of the tooth.

WHAT IS AN ABSCESSED TOOTH?

A tooth abscess is a painful swelling that is usually a pocket of pus (a thick yellowish fluid) that forms inside the teeth or gums. Most abscesses produce a painful and throbbing pain. If not treated, the infection can last for months and may spread to other parts of the body.

A tooth abscess can be treated by draining it and eliminating the infection. A root canal may save the tooth but, in some cases, the tooth will need to be pulled. It is not wise to leave a tooth abscess untreated.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A TOOTH ABSCESS?

Symptoms are what a person feels.

1. Pain in the affected area. Pain is the main symptom. Pressing or touching the tooth or gums may cause pain.
2. Fever
3. Swelling and/or redness around the tooth
4. Finding it difficult to open your mouth
5. A constant bad taste in your mouth and to your breath
6. Problem swallowing
7. Pain extending to the ear, jawbone, or neck—and even swelling in your neck glands
8. Open sore on the side of the gums
9. General sick feeling, caused by the pain and the infection

WHAT TYPES OF DENTAL ABSCESSES ARE THERE?

1. Periapical Abscess - The abscess begins inside the tooth in the soft pulp at the tip of the tooth or root. It usually is the result of an untreated cavity, injury, or prior dental work, and can spread to surrounding bone. Pain usually precedes the swelling. It can also be the spread of infection from a “dead tooth.”

A periapical abscess and a periodontal abscess can sometime be difficult to identify—and they may occur together. Your dentist will give you the proper diagnosis.

2. Periodontal Abscess - This abscess starts in the gums next to a tooth root, or in the space between the tooth and the gums. Swelling usually precedes the pain.

Food can become lodged between the gums and the tooth. Bacteria are present in plaque and, when the gums become inflamed, this allows the tissue around the root of the tooth to separate from the base of the tooth.

It is very difficult to keep this area clean, even with constant brushing. Bacteria builds up and a periodontal abscess is formed. This is known as Periodontitis.

3. Gingival Abscess - This abscess involves only the gum tissue. It does not affect the tooth itself. The pus filled sac will form in the gum line of the tooth. This abscess can be caused by infection, toothpick punctures, or heavy brushing with a hard bristled toothbrush.

4. Pericoronal Abscess - A localized infection in the tissue of the gums and usually around the crown of an impacted tooth or a partially erupted molar (lower wisdom tooth). It can be extremely inflamed and painful.

5. Periodontal/Endodontic Abscess - This may result from an infection with inflammation in the tooth. It can also be caused by a fractured untreated tooth, and may require endodontic therapy with removal of the nerve and replaced with suitable filling material or with a root canal. In severe cases the tooth may need to be extracted.

HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF AN ABSCESSED TOOTH?

Make an appointment with your dentist immediately when you have pain in your teeth, gums, jaw, or neck glands. Your dentist will diagnose and suggest the proper procedure to treat the problem. If you don't have a dentist, you can find a dentist here.

HOW CAN YOU LOWER THE DENTAL COST FOR TREATING AN ABSCESSED TOOTH?

Dental care for everyone is of major importance. Most often dental insurance is “capped” and doesn’t cover what a person needs or requires in one year. This is where a dental discount program like AmeriPlan Dental can be very helpful, especially if you need a dental plan with no waiting period!

People choose AmeriPlan Dental for several reasons, beyond what they save on an abscessed tooth:

  • Cosmetic dentistry such as bleaching, bonding and implants are included.
  • Orthodontics (dental braces) included for both children and adults.
  • All ongoing dental / medical problems are accepted (except orthodontic treatment already in progress)
  • No waiting period. You can go to the dentist immediately.
  • All Specialists included - Oral Surgeons, Orthodontists, Endodontists, Periodontists and Prosthodontists.
  • Members may change dentists at any time without having to notify anyone.
  • No annual limitations
  • No paperwork
  • Instant savings

Keep in mind that traditional dental insurance usually only permits about $1,000 per year in coverage so an abscessed tooth will usually take the average person beyond this annual limit. In light of this, most people seeking assistance for the cost of an abscessed tooth are thankful to learn about a discount plan or supplement to their employer paid dental insurance.

PAY LESS FOR A DENTAL ABSCESS BY FOLLOWING THESE STEPS...

  1. Find a dentist => Click Here
  2. Then click on the link below to get started.
After you join, your ID# will be e-mailed to you. Print your e-mail receipt and show it to your AmeriPlan® dentist. Your dentist or oral surgeon can confirm that you are a new member by calling 1-800-647-8421.
Important: Once you become a member, If for any reason you decide that it's not for you, you can cancel at anytime. We want you to be pleased with your membership so you will refer more people to this site.
Treatment for an abscessed tooth through AmeriPlan Dental® is available in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
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