A tooth abscess is the formation of a pocket or lump filled with pus on a tooth. A tooth abscess is caused by a bacterial infection. This condition can appear around the roots of the teeth or on the gums.
Bacterial infections that cause tooth abscesses generally occur in people who have poor dental hygiene and health. Pus that collects in the lump will gradually worsen the pain.
A tooth abscess is divided into several types, namely:
- Peripheral abscess, which is an abscess that appears at the end of the tooth root
- Periodontal abscess, which is an abscess that appears on the gum next to the root of the tooth and can spread to the surrounding tissue and bone
- Gingival abscess, which is an abscess that appears on the gums
Causes and Risk Factors for Tooth Abscess
This bacterial infection will be more likely to occur in someone with the following conditions:
- Unclean teeth
- Foods high in sugar
- Dry mouth
Tooth abscess symptoms
- Swollen gums
- Pain when chewing and biting
- Toothache that spreads to the ears, jaw, and neck
- Discolored teeth
- Sensitive to hot or cold food
- Bad breath
- Redness and swelling of the face
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck or under the jaw
- Hard to breathe
When to go to the dentist
Immediately go to the emergency room at the nearest hospital if symptoms of a tooth abscess appear, accompanied by swelling of the gums and lymph nodes, especially if there are complaints of shortness of breath.
Dental and oral health checks need to be done regularly at the dentist. This aims to maintain the health of the oral cavity as well as prevent or detect disease earlier. An examination by the dentist is recommended every 6 months.
Diagnosis of Tooth Abscess
During a physical examination, the doctor will tap the patient's teeth. The goal is to find out if the tooth is more sensitive to touch and pressure, as is common in people with tooth abscesses.
Next, the doctor will carry out a supporting examination, which includes:
- X-ray photo
- CT scans
Tooth Abscess Treatment
While still in the healing stage, the patient will be advised to undergo home treatment to relieve pain, namely gargling with salt water and taking pain relievers.
Dental abscess complications
- Dental cyst
- Osteomyelitis or bone infection
- Ludwig's angina or phlegmon in the floor of the mouth
- Sepsis, or a deadly immune system reaction due to an infection that has spread throughout the body,
Tooth Abscess Prevention
- Brush your teeth twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- Use dental floss to clean between your teeth every day.
- Replace your toothbrush regularly, every 3 months.
- Avoid using mouthwash after brushing your teeth because it can eliminate the benefits of toothpaste.
- Reduce consuming foods and drinks that contain sugar and flour, especially between meals or before going to bed.
- Regularly check your dental health with the dentist every 6–12 months.
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