If you are in pain and experiencing swelling in your mouth area, you may be suffering from an abscess. Dental abscesses are more than just a simple sore spot in your mouth; this condition could cause severe illness, and in some cases, may even be deadly. Here is how dangerous a dental abscess can be and how to prevent them.
There are several ways that the state of your oral health can lead to an abscess, and gum disease (either gingivitis or periodontitis) can be a major contributing factor in the formation of mouth abscesses. People undergoing chemotherapy and with immune system disorders are also at a higher risk of developing abscesses. Abscesses are usually formed, however, when bacteria enters the gum area, which can be caused by a decayed or damaged tooth. You will be able to see (and feel) a pus-filled area on the gum. Left untreated, the infection will spread to surrounding areas, such as the cheeks, throat, jaws, sinus cavities, and in some cases, your brain.
- Pocket of pus on the gum.
- Pain, though it's important to note that pain is not always present.
The method of treatment depends on your level of sickness, so listen to your body. If the symptoms feel mild, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible and take over-the-counter pain relievers. NSAIDs are especially good at treating issues with inflammation. Once at your dentist office, you can expect to be treated by draining the abscess and an antibiotic prescription.
If you feel extremely ill, do not wait for a dental appointment. Instead, go to the nearest emergency room right away, particularly if you are experiencing shortness of breath. A dental abscess can cause swelling of the throat, which will close your airway. Whether you visit the ER or go to your dentist, don't put off treatment since the infection could spread to your brain, potentially creating a life-threatening situation.
Abscesses only occur as a result of an underlying disorder or as a result of poor dental health in general, and determining the cause is paramount since the likelihood of a re-occurrence is high. For cavities, an extraction or a root canal may be needed. Though the advice has been given often, it bears repeating:
- Basic dental hygiene and care can help prevent abscesses, such as daily brushing and flossing.
- Catch cavities before they cause abscesses by seeing your dentist regularly.
- Avoid smoking and using chewing tobacco.
Timely treatment will prevent this issue from blossoming into a more dangerous disorder, so see your dentist, one like Chris T. Thomas, DDS, for more information and get regular dental check ups.