- What is a dental abscess?
- How do I know I have an infected tooth?
- How does the dentist treat an abscessed tooth?
- What you can do to prevent tooth infection
When you think of emergency dentistry, the first things that come to mind are knocked out, cracked, or dislodged teeth. After all, a missing tooth will affect your smile, and who doesn’t want to show the world a beautiful smile?
However, an infected tooth can lead to a condition known as tooth abscess, which is also something that requires urgent care before the infection can spread and pose a serious threat to your overall health.
That’s why we recommend that you always seek out urgent care for tooth abscess, or if you have the signs of a tooth infection, before the situation becomes worse.
What is a dental abscess?
Dental abscesses are pockets of pus that occur as the result of a bacterial infection in your tooth. They’re often the result of an untreated cavity and can occur on different areas of the tooth.
One sign of an abscessed tooth is a small, spongy bump that has appeared on your gum. If it oozes liquid pus when you press it, that’s a sure-fire sign that you have an abscessed tooth.
However, just draining the pus away doesn’t cure the condition – you still need to seek urgent care for tooth abscess, preferably when you first notice the signs of a tooth infection.
What are the symptoms of a tooth infection?
You can’t necessarily diagnose an abscess tooth on your own, but the symptoms of one are quite noticeable, including:
- Severe, throbbing toothache with possible persistent pain in your jawbone, neck, or ear
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Sensitivity when consuming hot and cold food or beverages
- Swollen face, cheeks, or lymph nodes under your jaw or in your neck
- Foul smelling and tasting salty fluid in your mouth, followed by pain relief
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
You should seek urgent care for an abscess tooth if you’re showing any of these signs, even if the pain goes away. Decreased pain can indicate a rupture, which could cause the infection to spread to other parts of your head and neck.
In severe cases, it can spread throughout your body – a condition known as sepsis – which may be life threatening. The risk of sepsis is higher in people with weakened immune systems.
Go immediately to the emergency room if you have trouble breathing or swallowing, as this could indicate that the infection has spread and possibly result in sepsis.
How dentists treat an abscessed tooth
When you seek urgent care for tooth abscess, your dentist will treat it or refer you to an endodontist, a specialist who’s trained to work with abscessed teeth. The goal is to drain the infection and try to save the tooth. The procedures involved are very safe and focus solely on your comfort, health, and full recovery.
- Draining the abscess: After applying anesthesia, your dentist will make a small incision to the affected area, and use suction to drain the abscess. In rare cases, dental surgery may be required.
- Root canal: The best way to save your tooth is to perform a root canal. This involves drilling into your tooth to clean the pulp and the root canals that go down into your gums. After filling the empty spaces, you’ll either get a tooth filling or a crown. In both cases, your restored tooth will look and feel just like all your other teeth.
- Tooth extraction: If your tooth cannot be saved, your dentist or endodontist will remove the affected tooth. They will then discuss options to replace your missing tooth and fix your smile. This may include dental implants.
After the procedure, you may be prescribed antibiotics, especially if the infection has spread beyond the jaw area. Apply a warm, moist compress to the area to help keep swelling down, and rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times per day to stimulate local blood flow and help relieve pain.
How to prevent tooth abscess
No one wants to suddenly seek out urgent care for tooth abscess, so it’s best to avoid poor oral health habits to prevent any infection from taking “root” in your mouth. Here’s how you can keep your smile healthy and beautiful:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice per day using fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing your teeth at least once every day
- Rinsing your mouth with antiseptic or fluoride mouthwash
- Using fluoridated drinking water, if available
- Replacing your toothbrush or toothbrush head for electric devices every 3 – 4 months, or if you notice the bristles are getting frayed
- Visiting your dentist on a regular basis for check-ups and professional cleanings
- Making a dentist appointment right away if you have a loose or cracked tooth before bacteria can set in and turn into an infection
Another important step to prevent an abscess tooth take is to eat a healthy diet and avoid snacking between meals. You should especially steer clear of food and beverages that are high in sugar, which can lead to cavities and, if left untreated, cause an abscessed tooth.
Dehydration and tooth pain also go hand in hand, or when you have a dry mouth due to certain medications. Stay hydrated to help keep your mouth clean and germ free.
Safety procedures at Yonge Eglinton Dental
We understand that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are still reluctant to visit their dentist out of concern for their health and well-being. Although remote treatment options are available, some dental procedures, such as treating an abscessed tooth, can only be carried out in the office.
To help relieve your concerns and protect the health of our patients and staff, Yonge Eglinton Dental has implemented strict infection control protocols that meet or exceed guidelines set out by the provincial government and our regulatory bodies.
If you’re still unsure about visiting our office, especially if you suspect you have an abscessed tooth, please call us to discuss your concerns right away. An infected tooth needs to be treated as soon as possible before it has a chance to seriously impact your overall well-being.
Seek Urgent Care for Tooth Abscess at Yonge Eglinton Dental in Toronto
If you’re suffering from an abscessed tooth, you need to seek urgent care right away. Our team is ready to help treat the abscess and save your tooth, all while prioritizing your comfort and safety. Give Yonge Eglinton Dental a call today at 416-932-2222 or visit us online to book an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!