Dental Abscess Facts
Dental abscesses form when an infection in your gum or tooth is left untreated. These pockets are very painful, and they can lead to tooth loss and much worse. Recognizing the symptoms early on can save you quite a bit of pain and discomfort and will make treating the condition easier.
There are two main kinds of dental abscesses: Gum tissue (periodontal) abscesses and tooth (periapical) abscesses. Both happen when bacteria go where they’re not supposed to go. Periodontal abscesses occur around and under the gums. Periapical abscesses tend to occur near the tooth’s root.
Cracks and cavities are one entryway for this bacteria. Other contributing factors include wounds, a weakened immune system, poor dental hygiene, and unhealthy eating habits, such as consuming a lot of sugar. Look for the following symptoms to determine if you may have a dental abscess:
- Pain or redness around the gums, cheeks, teeth, or jaw
- Swelling of the gums or lymph nodes around the face
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods/beverages
- Chronic bad breath
- Pus drainage
The Extent of the Damage
Tooth loss is one of the more common effects from an abscess that has not been properly treated. But the infection can spread to your other teeth, putting them at risk for extraction as well. The bone in your jaw can be damaged by the infection. This can weaken your mouth’s support structure and make chewing and speaking more difficult. Your tongue and soft tissues can also be infected.
Dental abscesses can cause damage not only to your teeth and mouth, but to the rest of the body as well. If an abscess is not properly cared for, you can also experience the following:
- Decreased vision
- Facial paralysis
- Swelling: Airways can become obstructed, making it very difficult to breathe.
- Flu-like symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.
- Organs: As the infection spreads through the bloodstream some body parts, like the kidneys and lungs, can be damaged.
- Death: If the infection is severe enough or left untreated, death has occurred in patients with a dental abscess.