As we know, the mouth is a breeding site for bacteria.
If you do suffer from a bacterial infection, this can lead to an abscess, where pus forms inside the teeth, gums or the bones that hold the teeth in place.
If you are waiting for an appointment to have your abscess treated, there are some things you can do yourself.
Make a rinse with warm salt water and use this three times daily to reduce toothache and cleanse the infected area.
It may also be helpful to use over the counter pain relief medication, avoid hot and cold foods and use a soft, gentle toothbrush.
Symptoms of a dental abscess
The severity of an abscess range – sometimes it is just a small lump in the inside of your mouth and sometimes it can be a large sore that is visible on the outside of your mouth.
Some symptoms of an abscess include:
- Swelling or lump under skin
- Pain and tenderness in the affected area
- Heat from the area
- Visible build-up of puss
What causes dental abscesses?
Our mouths are filled with an infinte number of microorganisms and bacteria, most of which is harmless to us.
However, bacteria forms a sticky film on the surface of your teeth known as plaque.
You are more likely to get an abscess if:
- You have bad oral hygiene
- You eat a lot of sugary or starchy foods
- You have endured a previous injury or surgery to your teeth
- You have a weakened immune system and struggle to fight off illness generally
How do you treat abscesses?
Treating an abscess means treating an infection.
To do this, your dentist may do one (or a couple) of the following:
- Drain the abscess: If it is necessary an incession will be made in the abscess and the puss will be drained out. They will then clean the area with a warm salt water solution.
- Root canal: This may be necessary to save your tooth – where the diseased tissue can be removed, and the tooth may be covered with a crown to increase its strength.
- Remove the affected tooth: If your tooth has gone past the point of saving then it may need to be removed, and again, the abscess will have to be drained to get rid of puss and avoid further infection.
- Prescribe antibiotics: Antibiotics are used to target infection and avoid it spreading further and becoming more severe.
Medically reviewed & updated on December 8, 2021