Tooth abscesses are infections that infiltrate the innermost portion of the tooth, reaching the root or root tip. These infections are quite painful, as they inflame the nerves located in the tooth’s pulp. Other symptoms of tooth abscesses include bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth, noticeable pus and swelling in the vicinity of the affected tooth.
Abscesses may result from extensive decay in a tooth, advanced gum disease or a crack in the tooth that allows oral bacteria to reach the pulp. They can be dangerous, as the bacteria involved can easily access the bloodstream and move throughout the rest of the body.
While a patient cannot (and should not) diagnose an abscess on his or her own, it’s important to know the signs of this issue so that you can consult with a dentist to confirm the diagnosis and move forward with treatment with an endodontist.
Abscesses are typically addressed with root canal treatment, in which the infected pulp material is removed from the tooth and the empty chamber thoroughly cleaned and filled in with an inert rubber-like substance to prevent re-infection.
Root canal treatment is usually provided by an endodontist, who specializes in treating problems that affect the innermost structures of the tooth. These specialists complete a residency after graduate school for more in-depth education and hands-on experience.
Teeth that are targeted by root canal treatment may be more susceptible to breaking after the intervention, so you will be referred back to your general dentist to have a crown placed as the last step in your root canal.
You should know the signs of a tooth abscess so that you can seek treatment as soon as possible. Prompt root canal treatment will eliminate your pain and reduce your risk of the other potential consequences of the abscess. Call our team at Access Endodontics to schedule an appointment if you are in need of root canal treatment for a tooth abscess.