What Types of Abscesses
There are two main types of abscesses that can occur in your mouth. Both of them are painful and can lead to additional problems, if you do not properly care for the abscess when it is discovered.
The first type is known as a gum abscess. You will likely hear this being referred to as a periodontal abscess by your dentist. This abscess is caused from an infection that occurs between the gum and the tooth. Typically, infection occurs once food has become trapped under the gum and the tooth. You will likely notice that your gum begins to swell and hurts. There may be a large or small lump depending on how severe the infection is.
The second type of gum abscess is a tooth-related abscess. This abscess is typically referred to as a periapical abscess and it occurs within the interior of the tooth as opposed to the outside of the tooth. This type of infection is often found in a tooth that is dying. When Dr. Kim look at this type of abscess, it will appear on the tip of the tooth’s root.
Both types of abscesses can spread infection to the bone in the jaw, which will lead to pain and more problems later on including bone loss.
What Symptoms Will I Experience?
Most patients will instantly know there is something wrong because pain will strike their mouth. Typically, the first indicators of a problem are:
- A pimple or lump on the gum
- Redness in the mouth
If you have an infected abscess that is affecting more than one tooth or the infection is severe, you will notice the following symptoms:
- Difficulty chewing and swallowing
- Pain when pressure is applied to the tooth
- Vomiting or nausea
You MUST have an abscess treated immediately to prevent the spread of infection. In serious cases, death can occur when the infection spreads to the bone or blood stream.
Causes of a Dental Abscess
There are a number of reasons why you may experience a dental abscess. Typically, an abscess forms when there is decay or injury to the tooth. The most common causes include:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Unresolved tooth decay
- Infections of the tooth nerve
- Diets high in sugar
Are All Abscesses Painful?
This is a good question and one that may spark confusion for many individuals. Most abscesses are painful, which means people recognize a problem immediately and ask treatment for the pain. However, some abscesses do not cause any pain or minor pain that is chalked up to nothing. The problem with this is that patients will often ignore the slight pain and this allows the abscess more time to grow and flourish.
What Can I Do for the Abscess?
The best thing you can do for an abscess is to seek immediate dental advice for it. When you come into our office, Dr. Kim will take a look at the abscess to determine the type and then recommend treatment for it.
We know that your abscess is painful and you probably want to do something to alleviate the pain while you wait for your dental appointment. We do recommend that you do NOT touch the abscess, as it may pop or you may injure yourself. The best thing to do is to rinse your mouth a few times per day with a salt water solution. We recommend that you mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water and then swish it around in your mouth.
You can also take an over the counter pain medication to help alleviate pain and swelling that may occur with the infection.
Schedule an Appointment Today
If you are worried about an abscess in your mouth, we recommend that you seek immediate treatment for it. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Steve Kim, please call our office today.
Dr. Kim will work with you to develop a treatment plan that will remove the abscess and further prevent any more from forming within your mouth.
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