Tooth Abscess Treatment Q & A
If you’re experiencing the pain that comes with having a tooth abscess, come to Ideal Endodontics. Our Dentists are here to help relieve your pain and get you on the road to recovery. Request an appointment with one of our specialists online or contact us today. Visit us at 3102 Golansky Blvd, Suite 101, Woodbridge, VA 22192. We serve patients from Woodbridge VA, Manassas VA, Dumfries VA, Lorton VA, Springfield VA and Dale City VA.
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A tooth abscess is a pustule of pus on the gums, typically directly adjacent to a tooth. They cause oral discomfort and pain and can lead to further complications if not treated in a timely manner. If left untreated, an abscess can spread infection to other parts of the body. Fortunately, endodontists are experienced in treating abscesses and can help you find the relief you need.
The type of bacteria causing the infection will determine what type of antibiotic you’ll need. Different types of antibiotics have different ways of attacking bacteria. Your dentist will choose an antibiotic that can successfully eliminate your infection. Antibiotics such as amoxicillin and penicillin are commonly used to help treat tooth infections. Be sure to tell your dentist if you’re allergic to penicillin (if you do not know, ask your doctor). An alternative to penicillin is erythromycin and can be prescribed in its place. Information about dosage, frequency and how to take the medication will be given to you by your local pharmacist. However, you will typically need to take antibiotics for about a week and be sure to use the entire prescription to ensure the infection is completely gone.
The longer an abscess goes without treatment, the higher the chance a complication will arise. Choosing to ignore a dental abscess is extremely unwise and can be potentially life-threatening. An infection in the tooth or gums can lead to the following complications:
Infection of the surrounding bone — Facial bones, particularly the mandible and maxilla, do not tolerate the long-term presence of infection very well. Surgical removal of the bone may be required in order to arrest further spread if infection spreads into these bones. The infection can cause marked weakening of the bone structures, even in cases where these extreme measures are not necessary, which makes it more difficult for the jaw to support the teeth.
Tooth loss — Root canal therapy and a crown can often save the tooth if an abscessed tooth is diagnosed and treated early. Endodontic therapy may not be possible due to weakening of the tooth or the risk of spreading the infection when the abscess persists without treatment. Provided that the infection has left enough bone integrity to support an implant, tooth replacement treatments such as dental implants will be necessary to restore oral function.
Infection in oral soft tissues and sinuses — An abscess in one of these teeth can lead to a painful sinus infection since the roots of several upper teeth extend into the sinus area. In addition, the soft tissues of the mouth and surrounding areas are vulnerable to the spread of infection, which can lead to a wide number of complications, from complications with the airway to facial cellulite.
While an abscess on its own is not usually a life-threatening emergency, it can quickly lead to one as complications arise when left untreated, such as:
Septicemia — Septicemia is when an infection spreads to the entire bloodstream. The body’s innate response to an infection is to increase antibodies in the area via extra blood. Septicemia from a dental abscess occurs with the rupture of a pocket of infection which then spills into the blood and begins to circulate throughout the body. This is an incredibly dangerous and life-threatening condition that often requires intravenous antibiotics and long-term hospitalization.
Abscess of the brain — A brain infection is also exceptionally dangerous and life-threatening and usually requires hospitalization for treatment. Infection from a dental abscess can enter the brain in a number of different ways, much the same way that septicemia sets in. Because of the blood-brain barrier, a brain abscess can be quite difficult to treat.
If you or someone you know has a tooth abscess, come to Ideal Endodontics today! Our professional and caring staff are experienced in treating tooth abscesses, and can help you find relief fast! To speak with one of our specialists, contact our office today. Visit us online or simply contact us to book an appointment.