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Abscesses & Infections Treatment in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island

Man having toothache at dentist

What causes dental abscesses?

A tooth abscess, also known as a tooth infection or an abscessed tooth, occurs when a pus-filled pocket forms anywhere on the tooth. Depending on where and why the tooth abscess occurs, it may be referred to by one of the following different names:

  • Periapical abscess – A dental abscess that occurs at the top of the tooth’s root
  • Periodontal abscess – A tooth abscess that is found below the gum line in the tooth’s root

Most commonly, a person suffers from a periapical abscess, found above the gum line. So, what causes an abscessed tooth? A periapical tooth abscess can occur when bacteria builds up in the very innermost portion of the tooth. Bacteria can get inside the tooth through a small crack or a tooth cavity. Some of the risk factors that could lead to a tooth infection include:

  • Dry mouth – If you suffer from dry mouth due to certain medications or aging problems, you could be at a higher risk of developing a tooth infection.
  • Eating too much sugar – If your diet is high in sugar-rich foods, you could have a higher chance of getting a cavity and/or tooth infection.
  • Not taking proper care of your teeth – If you fail to properly take care of your teeth and gums (including flossing and brushing regularly), you may be at an increased risk for developing oral health issues, including dental abscesses.

What are the symptoms of a tooth infection spreading?

If you notice any of the below symptoms of a tooth abscess, reach out to your dentist right away:

  • Throbbing toothache that doesn’t go away
  • Jaw aches
  • Neck aches
  • Earaches
  • Fever
  • Cheek swelling
  • Facial swelling
  • Tooth sensitivity when chewing
  • Tooth pain when biting
  • Tooth sensitivity to cold
  • Tooth sensitivity to heat
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Lymph node swelling
  • Neck or jaw swelling

In addition, you could experience what is known as a tooth abscess rupture. When this occurs, the pus-filled tooth abscess bursts and you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Foul smell in the mouth
  • Foul taste in the mouth
  • Salty taste in the mouth
  • Sudden pain relief of toothache

If your tooth abscess ruptures, it’s important to seek help from your dentist right away. The tooth infection will still need medical care to prevent complications. In addition, if you experience fever, swelling, sudden onset of symptoms, persistent symptoms, or severe symptoms, it’s important that you find medical care as soon as you can. If you are unable to get in touch with your dentist, you may need emergency care–especially if you are experiencing difficulty swallowing or breathing.

Do dental abscesses go away?

To treat a periapical tooth abscess can be treated by a dentist, who can drain the tooth and remove the infection. In some cases, your dentist will be able to save the tooth by performing a root canal and other restorative treatments. Be sure to visit your dentist if you notice signs or symptoms of a tooth infection right away.

Can an abscess or tooth infection go away on its own?

Tooth abscesses will not go away on their own, so it’s important to reach out to your dentist right away if you experience symptoms of a tooth infection. While awaiting treatment from a dentist, you may be able to alleviate some of the pain associated with an abscessed tooth using the following tooth infection pain relievers:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce discomfort
    • Aspirin
    • Naproxen
    • Ibuprofen
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid additional irritation

How long does it take for an abscessed tooth to heal?

The length of time it takes for a tooth abscess to heal depends on the severity of the infection. If the tooth abscess is small, a root canal is typically performed to save the tooth and get rid of the infection. This heals in the normal time frame for a root canal procedure to heal.

On the other hand, if a tooth abscess is more severe, it may need to be drained prior to the tooth repair. In very severe cases, the tooth may be too damaged to save and the tooth is pulled. Talk to your dentist to learn about the specific timeline you can expect for your tooth abscess healing.

Is an abscess dangerous?

When tooth infections go untreated, the infection can continue to spread to other areas of the body, including the jaw, head, or neck. If you know you have a tooth abscess, it’s important to seek help from a medical professional as soon as possible to avoid complications.

Is a tooth abscess considered an emergency?

A tooth abscess may require visiting the emergency room if you are experiencing tooth abscess symptoms and are not able to get in touch with your dentist.

For your convenience, our offices are open seven days a week. We accept walk-ins and offer affordable care and financing options. Tooth abscesses and tooth infections can be incredibly damaging and painful. If you notice signs of either of these dental problems, contact a dentist at one of our locations as soon as you can. Call us today at 844.365.DENTAL or request an appointment through our website at any time.


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