It is not uncommon to face various problems related to our teeth, and they range from mild conditions to severe ones. Your health is important to guarantee a state of physical and mental well being. The condition of a dental abscess is one of the dental diseases that may cause extreme discomfort and pain. With our help at the Encino Emergency Dentist clinic, we can provide you with medical treatments that are suited for your needs, depending on the severity and nature of the dental abscess that has developed in your tooth.

What is Dental Abscess?

A dental abscess is a tooth condition that arises from the build-up or accumulation of pus inside the hard part of the tooth called the enamel. Because the accumulation is internal, it easily reaches the inside of the soft pulp tissue, which is a very sensitive part of a tooth structure. It often leads to serious infections in the mouth, which may spread to the rest of the body if not treated promptly. It is classified into different types, depending on the cause of the abscess.

The problem is treated as a medical emergency as a result of the immense pain and discomfort that is caused by a patient. Therefore, you should contact a dentist for medical attention as soon as possible.

Causes of Dental Abscess

An abscess is a condition that may be caused by varying problems that already exist in the mouth. These underlying issues promote the spreading and breeding of bacteria. Since bacteria are the main cause of the spread of abscess, the problems bring about a higher chance of the abscess. They include tooth decay, gum disease, and cavities.

The problem of overcrowding of teeth inside the mouth is also another cause for increased bacteria that pose a threat to your dental health. Also, tooth gaps promote the same problem because of the numerous food particles that are caught between the spaces, which easily harbor millions of bacteria.

Additionally, an abscess may be aggravated by certain behavioral practices that involve a lack of proper oral hygiene. The most common omission that most patients make is failing to brush teeth twice a day. Studies have shown that six out of ten people consider brushing once a day enough oral hygiene routine. While the effects may not be immediate, the failure to brush twice as required promotes the harboring of some of the bacteria that may eventually cause the pus buildup in your soft pulp tissue and cause the disease. The problem is further worsened by your immense intake of sugary foods without a proper follow-up of the cleaning process, which can be as simple as using mouthwash or flossing if brushing is not possible at that particular moment. Despite all these measures, however, an abscess can still be caused by several other factors that are not necessarily within your control as a patient. You should ensure that your condition is detected early. This will prevent further complications that may end up being as severe as death.

Types of Dental Abscess

The different types of dental abscess are a result of distinctive causes. They all lead to the same conclusion, which is the accumulation of pus under the enamel, on the soft tissue layer. The first and most common cause of an abscess is a gingivitis infection. The type of infection causes an abscess to form in the tissues that surround the gum, which is then termed as infected. The gum does not suffer any major effect, as the abscess does not reach the tooth area, which is more sensitive. An abscess caused by gingivitis cannot, therefore, be termed as serious or dangerous. Despite this, you are required to seek medical attention due to the progressive nature of the pus, which may spread to the tissues that connect each tooth to the alveolar bone where the tooth is supported and sits. The connective tissue fibers are referred collectively as periodontal ligaments. Although there is no major effect to be expected from Gingivitis abscess, a check-up with your dentist is a wise move to make, as he or she will be able to drain and prevent the advancement of an abscess.

The second type of abscess that is also very widespread is known as Periodontal abscess. Similar to Gingival abscess, the Periodontal type affects the area surrounding the tooth, which primarily refers to the gum structures. The gums are surrounded by plaque, which is a sticky substance from a build-up of dirt around the teeth. The plaque is contaminated with millions of bacteria that thrive in that kind of environment, which thereafter will inevitably cause complications. The process of the abscess build-up begins with the inflammation of the area surrounding the tooth; a condition called periodontitis. Owing to the inflammation, there is some space created around the actual tooth, in which bacteria can easily be harbored.

Gum inflammations may be caused by any foreign change introduced into the mouth. For instance, if dental surgery is faultily carried out on you, there may be enough swelling thereafter that promotes the entry of microorganisms into deeper layers of the tooth. The continuous build-up of the bacteria inside the tooth cavity is what may cause the abscess. This type of abscess may cause an immense amount of pain, as the pus could well be positioned close to nerve endings and the pulp tissue, all of which are very sensitive. Regardless of whether you are applying the correct routines of observing oral hygiene, it is unfortunately often late to try and reverse the effect of bacteria on the inside of the tooth unless an invasive dental procedure like surgery is applied.

In addition to these two types of an abscess is the Periapical abscess. The process of abscess development, in this case, is through a chain of events and periodical worsening of existing diseases. To expound on this, Periapical abscess develops because of bacteria that penetrate the internal tissues of the tooth as a result of holes present. Now, the holes do not just form by themselves but are a result of dental caries or tooth decay as well as cavity holes. These two conditions are often a result of the poor exercise of oral hygiene, especially after consuming food with too much sugar content, which creates a perfect breeding ground for harmful microorganisms such as bacteria.

The enamel tissue is majorly destroyed by the bacteria, which proceed to the dentine area of your tooth. The dentine area is a highly sensitive area of the tooth that is usually right under the enamel. It holds numerous cells together, which are living and can connect with the nerves. Nerves detect pain in your body, and the human body is full of them, including inside the mouth. With the bacteria invasion of the sensitive dentine area, you are assured of a high level of discomfort and even pain, which is at this point that you are most likely to detect a problem. From the dentine, the pus will continue to spread the pulp, the soft inner tissue of the tooth. The main point to note is that pus is a by-product of dead white blood cells, which die trying to fight off the germs. Thus, the production of pus means that there is a continuous spread of bacteria, despite the body trying to fight them through those white blood cells. At this point, the pulp is said to be infected in a condition known as pulpitis.

Symptoms Of Dental Abscess

For you to identify symptoms of the condition, there has to be a change in your overall sense of well being, which is caused by the bacteria that invade your body through the mouth. Despite the notion that dental diseases cannot affect your entire physical state, there have been reports indicating quite the contrary, whereby patients have reported a general feeling of body illness that is later traced to diseases like Dental abscess. The symptom of weakness should open your eyes to a wider possibility of hidden problems, which will hopefully land you in a dental clinic for consultation.

The most common symptom of the abscess is always the pain that is associated with it. You will experience chronic pain that may feel throbbing, due to the interference of the nerves around the dentine and gum by bacteria-infested plaque. Most people are unable to work or carry out routine duties because of the pain felt. The symptom should not merely be suppressed by taking painkillers. Rather, you should visit your dentist, who will establish the root of the problem, which in this case, is the abscess. However, before the consultation meeting is scheduled or before arrival to the hospital or clinic, you can take some aspirin, which is a painkiller, to reduce the uncomfortable feeling of pain. Pain experienced also restricts you from biting, chewing, or even talking, which reduces the quality of life for you. Also, as a result, it may be very difficult to eat or even drink for you. Nevertheless, we encourage you to try as much as possible to take light meals that will enable you to retain your much-needed strength.

Pain in the mouth cavity often extends to nerves found in the brain, which can lead to severe headaches. You may suffer these headaches in intervals, depending on the level of pain you may experience as the abscess pus spread. Again, the intake of multiple Tylenol or Aspirin painkillers is only a temporary remedy for dental abscess. The only way to combat the pain is through a complete procedure that either drains the pus or removes the entire affected tooth.

Insomnia is another symptom closely related to that of pain. It is expected that you may be unable to sleep because of the immense pain experienced when you are suffering from a dental abscess. Headaches are also a contributing factor to cases of insomnia, which are not easy to manage. Should your case escalate up to this point, do not hesitate to seek medical advice, which may not necessarily be in a dental clinic at first instance. A good medical doctor or general practitioner will be able to rightfully refer you to a dentist, who will then give you a proper Dental abscess diagnosis.

Tooth sensitivity is another common symptom that is brought about by the invasion of the nerve endings by bacteria as well. The effect of sensitivity on the quality of your life is similar to that caused by pain, in that you will probably find biting and chewing of food extremely difficult. You may try some sensitivity remedies like the use of sensitivity treatment toothpaste, but the remedy can only hold the discomfort for so long. You still need to see a dentist for proper diagnosis of Dental  Abscess.

The disease may cause a symptom whereby you find it difficult to swallow. An abscess often spreads to the bottom of the mouth surface that is close to the throat and epiglottis. The pain experienced by the presence of bacteria on the lower part of the mouth can easily extend to the throat area, thus causing difficulty in swallowing.

Your mouth is also likely to develop an unpleasant breath and taste that is new to you. We advise you not to worry or wonder what may be wrong, as stress can only alleviate the gravity of a situation. The reason why you may develop a foul taste and smell in your mouth is that there are many dead white blood cells, which contribute to the pus production. This is a good sign that your body is trying its best to fight the bacteria. However, we do understand that this is an undesirable symptom that may be repellant to others around you. We recommend that you visit your dentist as soon as you notice this symptom as well as all the others discussed, to help make an early diagnosis of the abscess and begin prompt treatment.

A delay in reporting the symptoms gives rise to very serious complications of the infection. Some of them include Maxillary sinusitis, which affects your cheekbones and Osteomyelitis whereby the bacteria enter the bloodstream and may cause a serious case of bone infection, depending on what area of the body the bacteria reach. Other serious cases may require surgery and may be fatal if not attended to. One such example is the Ludwig Angina complication, where an infection spreads to the bottom of the mouth and may cause difficulties in breathing. The condition may require surgery to open up the windpipe in extreme situations where the infection has spread to the throat and neck.

To avoid all these problems, we encourage you to seek consultation early, should you suspect something wrong.

Treatment Options And Processes For Dental Abscess

After making a diagnosis on you, your dentist will suggest the type of treatment that is fit for you. He or she put several factors into consideration, which include the position of the abscess and the process of removal that is the most effective.

The first and most common procedure of treatment is through the process of a root canal. This procedure is most suitable in the case of Periapical abscess, which is often caused by dental caries and cavities, which provide an avenue for germs to enter the deeper tissues of the root. The process requires the dentist to apply local anesthesia, which will numb the whole mouth area of any pain that is likely to be felt. This requirement is important, as you can only imagine the amount of pain you would feel if anesthesia were not applied. The partiality of the anesthesia is also helpful since you remain awake for the entire time and follow the process of your treatment. 

After this important step, your dentist will then drill a hole on your tooth that extends into your enamel, where the pus is likely to be positioned. After locating the abscess affected area, it will need to be properly drained. Your dentist could choose to do this in several ways. He or she may make use of a rubber drain if necessary, to help ease the process of drainage. After ensuring that all the pus is removed, the affected area is cleaned using an oral solution like saline. This is important to ensure that germs do not recur, which is likely to bring back the abscess. The last step in a root canal procedure is filling the hole made by the drill, to seal the wounded area and block the entry of any micro-organisms. The filing, therefore, acts as a preventive measure for any future infections that may be brought by open wounds. After all these things are done, the process is complete, and you are already on your way to recovery. Generally, the anesthesia wears off after a few hours, and there is no cause for alarm if the return of your sense of feeling does not return immediately. You are also bound to experience some swelling, which is very normal after such an invasive procedure, for which your dentist will give some anti-inflammatory drugs before releasing you from the clinic.

Having looked at the root canal process, you may wish to undergo a similar process, as it seems very straightforward and quick for you. However, you should remember that it is only effective where the abscess can be directly located, without destroying the entire form of the tooth. Due to different manifestations of the infection and recurrent symptoms of an abscess, the option of undergoing a surgical procedure is also often considered for most patients.  The procedure functions to extract an affected tooth or perform complicated methods of tooth draining and reshaping.

The process of preparing for surgery can be a bit scary for you because you do not always know what to expect. You may be filled with concerns and questions, which is why we are always available for a consultation where we answer all your questions, as well as provide you with the vital information that you require to know while going into this. We also encourage you to notify us of any significant medical history, like whether you have undergone surgery before in your life, or whether you may medically be unfit to go under some type of anesthesia. This information is highly valuable because it enables us to make changes where possible to avoid complications when the procedure is ongoing, which may have very serious consequences.

We also encourage you to inform us if you may be under any other type of medication before we begin the treatment, as the human body is highly overwhelmed with different chemical combinations in terms of drugs in its system at the same time. We are completely fine with postponing the surgical procedure dates if this is the case until your current medication is completed. In the meantime, we will give you some remedies to help cope with the pain until you are ready to undergo surgery.

We may be forced to give you some dietary restrictions hours or a few days to surgery, to avoid certain complications that may arise from the intake of the food or drink. Eating often interferes with blood circulation at the time of digestion, which is undesirable during the surgical procedure. Even something as basic as water may be restricted for a certain period, to ensure your body is in its most basic state during surgery.

Aftercare Treatment for Dental Abscess

After undergoing your treatment procedure, it is important to ensure that you practice good care on the fresh wound where a procedure was done to prevent a recurrence of the infection. Your doctor will recommend a specific oral hygiene routine that ensures the affected area is well protected, while you clean your entire mouth normally. You are also recommended to use a soft toothbrush, especially when cleaning the affected tooth, to reduce the risk of hurting the healing wound, which may lead to fresh bleeding even days after the procedure.

For pain relief, you can take over the counter painkillers like Tylenol or Aspirin, but you need to be careful and have knowledge of any side effects that are likely to affect you negatively. You may also have been given a prescription of antibiotics like Metronidazole, which is meant to dispel any foreign microorganisms in your body. However, this type of drug often comes with adverse side effects that most patients find extreme. Contact your dentist or pharmacist if you experience this so that we can change your medication immediately.

Contact an Encino Emergency Dentist Near Me

We at the Encino Emergency Dentist understand the kind of pain and discomfort that comes with an abscess infection. We aim to give you the quickest relief from the pain so that you can proceed with your normal life. Give us a call today at 818-850-2969 to schedule a consultation with us.