Understanding Dental Abscesses

Understanding Dental AbscessesOf all the consequences of having a cavity, an abscess is perhaps the most painful one, usually requiring urgent assistance to deal with the sharp, very strong pain.

If you want to know what a dental abscess is, and how to prevent it from affecting your mouth, then you will this article useful.

What Is A Dental Abscess?

A dental abscess is, plain and simply put, a small “bag” of pus located outside the tip of a tooth’s root. Teeth with more than one root (molars and some premolars) can develop more than one of these little bags.

The part of a tooth that is exposed and you use for chewing is the crown. It’s protected by a hard cover, the enamel.
When a cavity appears and manages to get deeper into the tooth, it successfully drills a hole in the enamel, exposing the inner part of the tooth, which is the dentin. As the cavity progresses, it eventually gets through the dentin and reaches the softer part of the tooth, the pulp.

The pulp contains soft tissue and many nerve terminals. This soft tissue is very prone to infection, and as food gets trapped in the cavity, the infection develops. Shortly after it begins, the infectious process takes the whole pulp tissue, which is in direct contact with the nerve; it causes extreme pain and discomfort.

After having affected the whole pulp, the infection expands into the root’s ends, and it ends up in a bag between the tip of the root and the surrounding jaw bone, pressing against the nerve. This is known as a periapical abscess, i.e. an infection from within the tooth’s pulp.

Alternatively, the infection can make its way without passing through the tooth’s core; it may come from under the gums or from surrounding tissues, and end up forming a bag of pus in the same place as a periapical infection. This is known as a periodontal abscess.

How Can I Cure Dental Abscesses?

A professional will assess your particular case, and he will give you instructions on how to deal with the infection.

The most obvious first step is to remove the infected pulp and tissues, and to clean the area of foreign elements, which your dentist can do. He will prescribe antibiotics if he thinks they are needed, and treat the damaged tooth once the infection has gone away.

Abscesses can be a very delicate issue, and require a separate evaluation for each case. No one can tell you how to deal with your particular case of abscess, except for your dentist.

Can I Prevent Dental Abscesses?

Yes, you can.

Observing good health’s practices and keeping a good mouth’s hygiene is the best way to prevent an abscess from ever affecting you. Visiting your dentist regularly, brushing thoroughly and using anti-bacterial products to clean your mouth are all essential steps to prevent infection.

Sadly, many people don’t visit a dental professional unless they are in pain, and by the time that happens there’s a high chance that the infection is already there.

Your teeth take care of feeding you, so you should take care of them properly.

See you in our next article!

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