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What’s an Abscessed Tooth?

What’s an Abscessed Tooth?

On any given, normal day, you find yourself rubbing your cheek in pain. You can’t eat, drink, or chew without experiencing some form of discomfort and you can’t figure out why. Is it a simple toothache or is it something worse? So, you make an appointment at your primary dentist, and you are informed that you have an abscessed tooth that may need to be extracted. What in the world is an abscessed tooth?

An abscessed tooth is a painful infection within the tooth that has spread to the root of a tooth or between the gum. The infection originates from the tooth’s inner chamber, or the “pulp chamber”. Within the pulp chamber are blood vessels and nerves that have been exposed to bacteria, and without any way to protect itself, the area becomes susceptible to infection and may become inflamed if untreated. The infection is generally caused by severe tooth decay, gingivitis or gum disease, or trauma to the tooth such as a crack or a chip exposing the pulp chamber.

Along with pain and discomfort, you may experience other symptoms that follow an abscessed tooth infection such as:

  • Fever
  • Pain when chewing or drinking
  • Sensitivity of the teeth to hot or cold temperatures
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Halitosis or bad breath
  • Swollen neck glands
  • General Discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feelings
  • Redness or swelling of the gums
  • Sore on the side of the gum

If your dentist finds that you have an abscessed tooth, you may referred to an endodontist. An endodontist is a dentist that specializes in maintaining teeth through endodontic therapy, or procedures that involve the inner tissue of the teeth. To treat the tooth, your endodontist will perform a root canal procedure or endodontic surgery that will end in tooth extraction. This procedure involves removing the bacteria from the tooth, cleaning and shaping the root canals, and cleaning the empty space. Following the procedure, you may be fitted for a crown within the empty space, or you may have a spacer put in place of the baby tooth for the permanent tooth to erupt.

If you are suffering from discomfort or excruciating pain in your teeth or are experiencing any of the symptoms named above, make an appointment with your dentist to have the issue further assessed. This type of infection is best caught and treated early for a smoother treatment process.

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