Abscess on a Tooth; Everything you Need to Know

An abscess is a collection which can form inside an infected tooth, around inflamed gums or inside the jawbone. When an abscess appears around a tooth, it is known as a periodontal abscess.

What Causes an Abscess on A Tooth?

The primary reason for the development of a tooth abscess is poor oral hygiene. However, some of the situations which can increase the risk of development of a tooth abscess include:

  • Teeth Cavities – long-standing teeth cavities increase the chances of penetration of the harmful bacteria deeper within the tooth structure, thereby leading to the formation of an abscess.
  • Gum Disease – when there is prolonged adherence of the plaque and tartar on the teeth, the harmful bacteria result in an inflammation of the gums and the periodontal tissues, ultimately leading to an infection.
  • Tooth Injury – when a tooth becomes fractured or cracked due to an injury, there are chances that the underlying pulp tissue may become exposed to the oral environment. If this happens, the harmful bacteria result in an inflammation of the pulp tissue. If the condition is not treated timely, the infection may extend into the gums and periodontal tissues, resulting in a pus-filled swelling around the infected tooth.

What are the Symptoms of a Tooth Abscess?

The most common and obvious sign of a tooth abscess is swelling. However, if you’re suffering from some or all of the following symptoms, then there are chances that you are having an abscess on a tooth:

  • Pain – the pain may be continuous, or it may be felt whenever you eat or drink something. In advanced stages, the pain associated with a dental abscess may not be relieved with a painkiller.
  • Swelling – the swelling becomes visible due to the formation of pus around the tooth and the gums. Sometimes, pus can be seen oozing out of the swelling when you brush your teeth or press the inflamed gums.
  • Bad Taste and Odor – the bad taste and foul odor are due to the presence of pus inside the oral cavity.
  • Fever – severe infection inside or around the tooth can also result in high-grade fever.
  • Lose Tooth – the affected tooth may appear mobile due to long-standing periodontal disease.

How is a Tooth Abscess Treated?

The treatment of a tooth abscess involves elimination of the underlying cause. Some of the measures undertaken by dentists to treat an abscess include:

  • Professional Teeth Cleaning – this procedure involves the use of an ultrasonic scaler which is used for removing the plaque and tartar deposits from the teeth. This helps in reducing the symptoms, and in minimizing future chances of development of an abscess.
  • Root Canal Treatment – this is the ultimate solution to save an abscessed tooth from extraction. A root canal procedure involves using a special instrument to remove the inflamed pulp from the infected tooth.
  • Surgical Drainage of the Infection – if required, your dentist may also surgically drain the pus to reduce the symptoms.
  • Antibiotic Therapy – in case of severe infection, your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics which are helpful in accelerating the healing process.

Once the infection has been completely treated, the affected tooth is restored with a suitable filling material. In case the tooth receives heavy chewing forces, then it must be reinforced with a crown to prevent chances of fracture.

A dental abscess is undoubtedly a painful condition, which can be easily prevented. Simply maintain optimal oral hygiene through regular brushing and flossing, and frequent dental visits, and you won’t have to worry about gum problems, teeth cavities or tooth abscesses anymore.

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What Causes a Dry Mouth?

What causes a dry mouth

What causes a dry mouth

We all know that water is essential for the survival and normal functioning of our body. But did you also know that the saliva, which is largely composed of water is also essential for our dental health? Our oral cavities are constantly being bathed with the saliva, which not only provides a cleansing effect on the teeth, but it also provides an antibacterial and digestive function.

What is Dry Mouth?

Under normal conditions, saliva is being constantly made inside the oral cavity by the salivary glands. However, there are certain conditions in which the oral cavity does not make enough saliva to perform all the essential functions. As a result, the mouth becomes dry and creates problems during speech and eating. This condition is known as dry mouth, scientifically known as xerostomia.

What are the Causes of a Dry Mouth?

A dry mouth can be caused due to a variety of reasons:

  • Dehydration – this is one of the most common causes of transient xerostomia. Conditions which excessive water loss from the body such as sweating, diarrhea, blood loss or vomiting can lead to a dry mouth.
  • Lifestyle Habits – excessive smoking or chewing of tobacco tends to damage the salivary glands. This results in reduced production and release of saliva into the oral cavity.
  • Nerve Damage – traumatic injury of the head or the face may result in damage to the nerves which supply the salivary glands, resulting in decreased salivary flow.
  • A side effect of Medical Treatments – damage to the salivary glands during radiotherapy or chemotherapy for cancer treatment can also cause dry mouth.
  • Side Effect of Medical Conditions – dry mouth can also be a side effect of various medical conditions like the HIV/AIDS and other autoimmune diseases, Sjögren Syndrome, Anemia, Cystic Fibrosis, Hypertension, Diabetes, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Side Effect of Medications – certain medications such as those used to treat hypertension, epilepsy, anxiety, asthma, depression, and anxiety have also been known to cause xerostomia. However, in most cases, the dry mouth caused by them is transient and the condition goes away as soon as the medication is discontinued or replaced with another one. As well as causing a dry mouth sometimes these medications can also cause dry eyes.

Is Dry Mouth Dangerous for My Dental Health?

The persistent state of having a dry mouth can be dangerous for your oral health in many ways:

  • Teeth Cavities – when there is insufficient salivary production or release, the teeth do not benefit from the cleansing action of the saliva. As a result, plaque and tartar deposits form on the teeth and promote the formation of cavities.
  • Gum and Periodontal Problems – reduced salivary flow can also lead to the development of tooth decay and gum disease which cram progress into the more severe periodontal problems due to the adherence of plaque and tartar deposits.
  • Increased Chances of Dental Infections – saliva provides a protective and antibacterial action inside the oral cavity. When its production is reduced, the oral cavity becomes more vulnerable to the development of infections.

The first step in treating dry mouth is to talk to your dentist so that the underlying problem can be diagnosed.

Something you might want to try

  • Anything which stimulates saliva production. Sucking on sugar free sweets or chew sugar free gum.

A dry mouth can often cause a burning sensation due to the saliva glands which don’t work properly. If you can get your mouth wet by stimulating saliva production this may help this uncomfortable sensation.

Generally, dry mouth sensation goes away as soon as the underlying problem is removed. In addition, maintenance of optimal oral hygiene and increasing water intake to minimize the chances of dehydration also help in preventing xerostomia.

 

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Finding an emergency dentist near me-a guide to urgent dental care

How to find an emergency dentist near me

How to find an emergency dentist near meFinding an emergency dentist in an urgent situation can often be stressful. This guide is to help you understand the difference between a routine dental appointment and dental emergency and to help you find a dentist near you which may be able to help.

There are a range of websites which can help with finding an emergency dentist near you including the NHS Emergency dentists. The best way to ensure you have access to an emergency dentist is to ensure you are registered at a local dental practice at all times, this then makes finding treatment in urgent situations much quicker and easier, however the links above should help you in your search.

What is a dental emergency?

A dental emergency is any time where you:

  • Are in extreme dental pain.
  • Have severe dental bleeding.
  • Have chipped tooth and are in extreme pain.
  • Have chipped tooth and you have blood coming from the tooth itself (not necessarily around the tooth).
  • Have sudden and painful swelling in and around your jaw or tooth.

Typically you will not need to see an emergency dentist if:

  • You have chipped the tooth and there is no severe pain or bleeding.
  • A dental crown has come loose and you don’t have extreme pain.
  • You have knocked a tooth and you have been minor bleeding from around the tooth socket. If you have severe bleeding and/or bleeding from the chipped tooth itself then this is an emergency.

If any of the above are true then you should make an appointment with your dentist at the earliest convenience.

Common dental emergencies

Common dental emergencies include things such as:

  • Severe tooth trauma where a tooth has been avulsed (knocked out).
  • A dental abscess which appeared suddenly, this can either be on the gum (which you will see) or at the base of the tooth (which you may not see but will definitely feel).
  • Extreme pain on biting, this can sometimes be linked to a cracked tooth or infection.
  • Painful inflammation around an individual to.

A good rule of thumb for a dental emergency is:

  1. Is there excessive pain?
  2. Is there excessive blood?

If the answer to either question above is yes, then emergency dental care should usually be sought.

How to manage a dental emergency –

Practical urgent dental care advice

Managing sudden tooth loss

If you have lost tooth by trauma there are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Stay calm.
  • Attempt to stop the bleeding by getting the patient to bite down gently on some sterile gauze. Biting down on a used teabag can also help as the tannin in the tea has been shown to help control bleeding.
  • Ensure the head is tipped forwards so that any excess blood drained out of the mouth and is not swallowed.
  • If the tooth that has been knocked out this whole pick it up by the Crown (the part of the tooth which you can see).
  • If the knocked out tooth is whole and you are able to see which way round it goes then gently place it back into the socket if possible.
  • Place the knocked out tooth into a clean plastic bag and fill with milk if available.
  • Contact an emergency dentist or take the patient to your local accident and emergency department.

Managing extreme pain

If the dental emergency is due to severe pain then over the counter painkillers may help. You may also find that a cold pack applied on the outside of your cheek around where the pain is can help manage pain if it is localised to one particular area.

Rinsing with warm salt water can also help alleviate dental pain.

Cloves have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties which can help manage sudden tooth pain and gum infections. Soaking a small cotton ball with clove oil and applying to the affected area may help.

How does the dentist treat emergencies?

A dentist will always undertake emergency dental treatment to treat the pain and bleeding first, after this it can move on to restorative treatments, depending upon what the initial problem was.

  • Tooth loss or extraction can be treated with a dental bridge or dental implant.
  • Loss of a dental crown can be replaced either with a new crown or have the old crown fitted again.
  • A dental abscess can be treated with root canal treatments.

Your dentist will also give medication such as antibiotics to treat any infection.

If you’re looking for an emergency dental practice or dentist in Stourbridge then please contact Dr Phil McDermott, your local friendly dentist; details of emergency appointments are always available on the practice answerphone even outside of normal working hours .

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