Your tooth may seem like it’s bulletproof because it is covered with enamel, which is deemed by the experts as the hardest substance in your body. Unfortunately, your tooth is not impervious to being damaged. Inside your tooth is a pulp that’s made of connective tissues, blood vessels and nerves. Keeping them safeguarded from the outside world is important — otherwise, what’s referred to by dentists as an abscessed tooth may strike.
Read on if you like to learn more about an abscessed tooth — why it happens, what are its signs and symptoms, and how it is treated. Don’t forget to repost this article on your various social media sites to get your family and friends acquainted with this complete smile-wrecker, too.
The pulp inside a tooth is kept out of harm’s way by the enamel. Sadly, your enamel is not entirely damage-proof even though it is regarded as the hardest substance found in your body. The enamel can get damaged due to things like unhealthy eating habits, poor oral hygiene and having acid reflux. The pulp inside can also become exposed when you crack or chip your tooth. According to dentists, having gum disease (also sometimes referred to as periodontal disease) can cause the pulp to be left unprotected, too.
When the pulp becomes defenseless from the outside world, it’s possible for it to be attacked by bacteria. Naturally, such can lead to an infection. This is what then causes an abscessed tooth — an abscess means a pocket of pus.
Signs and Symptoms
Just like with any other type of infection, an abscessed tooth can cause pain. No matter if you are eating, drinking, talking or not doing anything at all, the pain is there. It’s nothing like tooth sensitivity in which pain or discomfort is felt only when the affected tooth comes into contact with something hot or cold.
It’s for certain that there is swelling, which is a clear sign that the body is trying to fight an infection. The gum around the affected tooth may appear red. In some instances, a pimple-like growth may be present on the gum. If such is pressed and liquid escapes from it, dentists say that it’s a clear sign that you are suffering from an abscessed tooth because that liquid that just came out is pus.
You may also notice that there’s a bad taste in your mouth which tends to linger even after brushing your teeth or using a mouthwash. It’s not just a bad taste that won’t go away, but also bad breath.
Since there is an infection, it’s not unlikely for you to have fever and swollen lymph nodes. You may also have a hard time eating and drinking because of the jaw pain and difficulty in swallowing.
However, there are also times in which you may not have any sign or symptom, in particular pain and swelling. Such can be due to the fact that the pus may have found a place from which to drain.
Unfortunately, an abscessed tooth won’t heal on its own. It’s something that needs to be treated in order to put an end to the infection. Treatment is also necessitated in order to prevent the infection from spreading to neighboring areas. Dentists confirm that an infection brought about by an abscessed tooth can eventually spread to jaw, head, neck and other body parts.
A very common way to put an end to the infection is with the administration of antibiotics. It can stop the infection alright, but it cannot deal with the abscess itself. In order to save the affected tooth, a root canal may be performed. In some cases, extracting the tooth is the only solution left.