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Most of us have had a toothache at one time or another and our first inclination is to wait and see if it eases
or goes away. However, there are different types of tooth pain and they can mean different things. If you
have pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold, it could be tooth sensitivity. If you have a sharp or
stabbing pain when you bite down on something, it might mean a cracked tooth or a cavity. If you have
tooth pain on both sides of your upper teeth, it could be a sinus infection. However, if you have throbbing,
incessant pain, you may have an infected or abscessed tooth and that’s not something you should ignore.
Any tooth pain should be checked by a dentist but severe, constant pain should be taken care of as fast as
WHAT IS AN ABSCESSED TOOTH?
An abscessed tooth is a pus-filled infection inside the tooth or between a tooth and the gum. At first it
may just be annoying and slightly uncomfortable, but it can very quickly become intense, throbbing pain or
sharp, shooting pain that is an indicative sign of an abscess.
SYMPTOMS OF AN ABSCESSED TOOTH
These are the signs of an infected or abscessed tooth:
Severe, persistent, throbbing toothache that can radiate to the jawbone, neck or ear
Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
Sensitivity to the pressure of chewing or biting
Swelling in your face or cheek
Tender, swollen lymph nodes under your jaw or in your neck
Sudden rush of foul-smelling and foul-tasting, salty fluid in your mouth and pain relief if the abscess ruptures
If you have any of these symptoms in addition to the fever, seek help immediately! If the abscess ruptures
and you feel some relief from the pain, it’s not a good sign. This means the infected pus has now spread
deeper into your jaw and can also move to other parts of your body. It will not go away on its own and
requires medical treatment right away.
HOW TO DIAGNOSE AN ABSCESS
A dentist/doctor can identify an abscess easily. An x-ray will confirm if there’s a pus-filled pocket near the
tooth root. If there is, the dentist may do one of three things; make a small incision and drain the abscess,
perform a root canal or remove the tooth. If the infection has spread, the doctor will most likely prescribe
an antibiotic to treat it.
An important thing to remember is that an abscess will not go away on its own and will need to be treated
by a doctor or dentist. If you think you may have an abscess and can’t get to a dentist right way, go to the
ER. The infection can spread as quickly as a day or two. If it begins to spread throughout your body, the
seriousness increases and it can even cause death. An abscess is nothing to ignore so act as soon as possible
if you have any suspicions that you have one.
A DANGEROUS TREND ON THE RISE
It seems that the number of Americans hospitalized due to tooth abscesses is rising. Unfortunately, the
Affordable Care Act and Medicare don’t have dental coverage so many people are going without dental
insurance. This means people aren’t getting regular cleanings and maintenance checks for their teeth. By
the time an abscess or infection gets to that point and they finally get to the dentist or Emergency Room,
the infection can be extremely serious. It can spread to your bloodstream, brain or heart or cause swelling
and cut off your airway.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR TEETH
You can avoid an abscess by taking care of your teeth. Brushing and flossing daily as well as regular dental
cleanings will keep your mouth healthy. Remember: Healthy Mouth. Healthy Body. Healthy Smile.
Your health matters to us.
If you have any questions concerning this post, call us at (248) 357-3100 today
We’re always happy to hear from our awesome patients!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or
treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding
medical conditions or an infected tooth.