4 Signs of a Dental Abscess

4 Signs of a Dental Abscess

You may be familiar with abscesses, but you may not realize that a dental abscess is a common occurrence. In fact, they are frequently the reason patients seek emergency dental care. A dental abscess causes intense pain, a buildup of pus, and other oral complications that can even impact your general health if the infection travels into your bloodstream. 

The skilled and experienced dentists at Cherry Family Dental in San Jose, California, can perform a dental exam and discover if your mouth pain is caused by an abscess. They can also offer emergency dentistry services to solve the issue and relieve pain, often on the same day you call. 

What is a dental abscess?

Dental abscesses develop when bacteria penetrate your tooth enamel or gum tissue and cause an infection. The three most common types of abscesses are:

Periodontal abscess

These abscesses affect both teeth and gums, and they develop a pocket inside the gum tissue. This causes intense pain, letting you know that this is a true dental emergency that requires urgent care. 

In fact, periodontal abscesses rank third in dental emergencies treated by dentists. They are most often a result of trauma to your mouth or advancing gum disease. 

Periapical abscess

Periapical abscesses occur when a bacterial infection invades the sensitive pulp of your inner tooth. This is the part of a tooth that contains the nerves and tiny blood vessels. Obviously, when infection enters this area, you feel the pain of the dental abscess. 

Gingival abscess

Gingival abscesses don’t involve your teeth, but occur when food or some other object becomes lodged in the gums. This produces pain, just like other types of abscesses. 

How can I tell if I have a dental abscess? 

The most obvious symptom of a dental abscess is throbbing pain. Other signs may not be as serious or pervasive, but they do indicate that you have a serious oral infection that requires dental care as soon as possible. They include: 

  1. Tooth sensitivity 
  2. Redness and swelling of the gums, face, and lymph nodes 
  3. Bad breath 
  4. Rupture of the abscess 

When the abscess ruptures, there is an immediate relief of pain and pressure, but you will notice a foul taste in your mouth — this is the pus and blood from the abscess. Avoid this unpleasant experience by calling us at Cherry Family Dental and seeing one of our dentists. 

How are dental abscesses treated? 

Our skilled dentists quickly assess your oral problem and take measures to relieve pain before administering any additional care. After a comprehensive oral exam, we determine your type of abscess, its location and severity, and then determine an appropriate treatment. These can include: 

Most dental abscesses clear up quickly with these routine treatments. However, if a tooth has become seriously infected, you may need a root canal to save the tooth. Our dentists can perform a root canal or other endodontic procedure to solve the issue in our San Jose clinic. 

The best way to prevent a dental abscess from developing is by maintaining good oral care at home at least twice daily and having biannual appointments at Cherry Family Dental for an exam and professional cleaning. 

If you notice signs of an abscess, call us right away at 408-495-4730, and let us know. We may be able to see you today for urgent care. 

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