Swollen Gums & Dental Abscesses Q & A

by on November 4, 2015
Posted in Blog

Swollen Gums & Dental Abscesses Specialist – Long Island Great Neck, NY: Michael Baharestani, DDS: Endodontist

Swollen Gums & Dental Abscesses Q & A

by Michael Baharestani, DDS

What causes a tooth to become abscessed?

A dental abscess is an infection around the tooth or the tooth root, and it most often occurs as a result of untreated gum disease. Gum disease-related infections develop when bacteria builds up beneath the gum or around the tooth root, resulting in an infection that can be very painful, often resulting in swollen gums and teeth that are painful when touched. Untreated cavities and trauma to the tooth can also cause infections and abscesses to occur.

How is a dental abscess diagnosed?

Dental abscesses cause very distinct symptoms in most patients, including red, swollen or tender gums, bleeding from the gum around the tooth, pus discharge usually accompanied by a sour taste, chronic bad breath and extreme tooth sensitivity to hot, cold or even slight pressure when chewing or biting. In their early stages, an abscess may simply cause a toothache. If you have any of these symptoms, you should schedule an emergency office visit right away. During your appointment, your tooth and gum will be evaluated and x-rays may be taken to determine the extent of the infection. Left untreated, infection can spread to neighboring teeth, eat away at your jaw bone or even spread to other areas of your face and head.

What kinds of treatments are available for dental abscesses?

Abscesses require immediate treatment to prevent progression of the infection. Treatment can include antibiotics to kill the bacteria responsible for the infection, fillings to treat decay and cavities, root canal therapy to treat a deeply-infected tooth, or extraction when the tooth is too badly damaged to be saved by a root canal. Your treatment will depend on how far the infection has progressed and how badly your tooth has been damaged. Conservative treatment can be very effective when care is sought early.