Any swelling in the mouth that is painful and draining pus can be an abscess.
Abscesses can form very quickly. Sometimes they form only one or two days after the infection starts. There are two types of abscesses:
- A gum abscess (also called a periodontal abscess) usually is caused by an infection in the space between the tooth and gum. The infection may occur after food gets trapped between the gum and tooth. In people with severe periodontal disease, bacteria can build up under the gum and in the bone.
- A tooth-related abscess (also called a periapical abscess) occurs inside the tooth. This happens when the tooth’s nerve is dead or dying. This type of abscess shows up at the tip of the tooth’s root. Then it spreads to the surrounding bone.
Patients need to visit United Dental Arts
Abscesses are always serious because the infection may spread to other parts of the body. Call your United Dental Arts at 703-361-2345 to schedule an appointment.
If you can see or feel a pimple-like swelling on your gum, rinse your mouth several times a day with a mild salt-water solution. Use 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water. This may help draw the pus out and relieve pressure. Even if the rinse seems to help, you still need to see your dentist as soon as possible.
What Dr. Teena Sareen Will Do For You
Most gum abscesses will heal quickly after three things happen:
- The area is cleaned thoroughly.
- The trapped pus is allowed to escape.
- The infection is treated.
If a fistula has formed, your dentist will trace it back to the source of the infection. Your dentist will insert a flexible, thin piece of material into the fistula. This will appear on an X-ray and show the dentist where the fistula leads. Once your dentist cleans out the infection, the fistula usually will close on its own.
If the infection started inside a tooth, your dentist will make a small hole in the tooth. This allows the abscess to drain. The tooth will need root canal treatment, followed by a filling or a crown.
If an abscess is very large or the tooth is badly damaged, you may need to have the tooth removed. A large abscess often will need to be drained. The dentist makes a hole in the gum through the bone that provides an exit path for any fluid or pus. This will reduce the risk of further spread of the infection.
People with severe periodontal disease may have abscesses. Draining them helps the immediate problem. However, the periodontal disease needs to be treated to prevent another infection.
Your United Dental Arts dentist, Dr. Teena Sareen can give you a prescription for antibiotics and painkillers. These drugs will help the abscess heal and keep the infection from spreading.