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How Can You Avoid an Abscessed Tooth?

March 23, 2011 | Posted in Education | Be the first one to comment

Many of you might have heard of the concept of an “abscessed” tooth. However, you may not really be sure as to what that means.

In its simplest terms, an abscess of the tooth is an infection. Like any infection, it can be so mild that you may not even be aware it is there. On the other hand, it can become quite painful as puss may accumulate around the pulp of the tooth, resulting in pressure on the nerve.

Also like any other form of an infection, it can spread to other parts of the mouth or throughout the body. Given the potential health consequences associated with a spreading infection, an abscessed tooth is not something to be taken lightly even if it is not causing you any discomfort.

Aside from pain around a tooth, other potential signs of an abscess include fever, pain when chewing, bad breath, bitter taste in the mouth, swelling in the gums or neck and an open sore.

If your dentist concludes you have an abscess, the first thing that must be done is that the infection must be drained. The most common way to achieve this is through the process known as a root canal.

Given an infection was involved, your dentist may prescribe anti-biotics to prevent it from spreading. In addition, pain medication, such as ibuprofen, may be needed to alleviate any pain that you may still be experiencing.

In addition to dealing with the infection itself, you may also have to deal with the tooth. As a result of the infection, the pulp of the tooth may actually have died off. If that is the case, you will have to consider different treatment options. It may be that the best option for you is an implant. For some patients, crowns are best. This is a matter that you will need to discuss with your dentist before making any final decision.

Like most other dental conditions, the best way to treat an abscess is through prevention! The two primary causes of an abscess are decay and trauma.

Preventing decay means following a good oral health regime. This means brushing at least twice per day for a minimum of two minutes each time. It also means flossing at least once per day. Adhering to a healthy diet is also recommended, as are regular visits to your dentist.

Following such a plan can reduce the likelihood of your enamel being compromised. If the enamel is in good shape, it is harder for bacteria to penetrate the tooth and start an infection.

Even healthy teeth are susceptible to infections after some form of trauma. If your teeth have experienced such a trauma, you should consult your dentist to make sure that they are not cracked. Just because YOU cannot see a crack does not mean there is not one there! Let your dentist take a closer look to make sure there are no small fissures that bacteria might be able to slip through.

It is never pleasant to have an abscess. An abscess is an infection and infections can have troubling consequences. That is why prevention is the best solution. Because preventing an infection is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Peter Georgopoulous

Dental Surgeon


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