An abscessed tooth is an infected tooth. When tooth decay is ignored for too long, it can advance deep into a tooth and cause inflammation and destruction of the pulp (the “core” of the tooth). Once the pulp is infected, it often becomes swollen, painful and unresponsive to simple pain control measures.
Is an abscessed tooth dangerous?
An abscessed tooth should be treated as you would appendicitis. It is a very serious infection and if left untreated, the bacteria causing the infection of the pulp can spread to the surrounding tissue and even bone. At this point, the bone surrounding the tooth will start to dissolve and serious systemic infection and immune system compromise can take place.
What are the signs and/or symptoms?
- Exaggerated sensitivity to hot foods or liquid
- Red, swollen gums.
- Pain that wakes you up from a sound sleep.
- A bad taste in your mouth.
- Swelling in your jaw or face.
- Throbbing pain, especially when chewing.
- Spontaneous pain.
- A boil-like bump on the gum near the tooth.
How do you treat an abscessed tooth?
There are several courses of treatment, each of which varies depending on the severity of the abscess.
- Antibiotics. The infection is often very responsive to antibiotics. We suggest the coordinated use of natural therapies and probiotics (as directed by one of our doctors) as a supplement to an antibiotic regimen.
The antibiotics, however, cannot cure the abscess, but rather serve to quiet the infection and allow the patient time to choose the appropriate treatment.
- Root Canal Therapy. While we don’t usually advocate RCT, it is an option to keep your tooth and quiet infection.
If you think you have an abscessed tooth, schedule an appointment with us immediately.