Your Next Step After Finding an Abscess

Your Next Step After Finding an Abscess

Dental abscesses can make you feel miserable. A dental abscess is always a reason to seek emergency dental care. Abscesses in your tooth or gums are signs of infection, which can become quite serious without dental attention. 

Some common symptoms of a dental abscess include swelling and redness in your face and around the tooth, pain, fever, and tooth sensitivity. You may also notice pain when you chew and even bad breath. Dr. Anette Betancor of Dente Complete Dentistry explains how to deal with an abscess.

What is an abscess?

A dental abscess is when a pocket of pus forms as a result of a bacterial infection. An abscess can occur at several places in your mouth. There are three different types of abscesses, depending on where they are located. These include:


These abscesses form in your gums, but usually do not involve any of your tooth’s structures. They may be caused by a foreign object embedded in your gums, such as a popcorn hull. Often, these go away with treatment and don’t have further effects.


This type of abscess forms at the root of your tooth. Often, it occurs due to an untreated cavity, a tooth fracture, or other dental trauma. The bacteria gets into your tooth through a cavity or fracture and spreads to the pulp of your tooth. The pulp of the tooth contains nerves and blood vessels, which is why pain is such a common symptom of an abscess.


A periodontal abscess starts in the bones and tissues that support the teeth. This is often a result of periodontal (gum) disease and is more common in adults. 

How an abscess is treated

If you have an abscess, the dentist will likely drain the pus. This may be an unpleasant process, but it’s necessary. It’s common to have a bad taste in your mouth after the pus drains, but this will quickly disappear.

You’ll also receive a prescription for antibiotics to fight the infection. Even after the pus is drained from your abscess, you’ll still need to take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed. The infection that leads to an abscess is severe.

Who’s more likely to get an abscess

While an abscess can happen to anyone–especially the type that’s caused by a popcorn hull stuck in your gum–some people are more likely than others to develop an abscess. You’re more likely to get an abscess if any of the following factors affect you:

You need to take good care of your oral health for many reasons, including avoiding the possibility of getting an abscess.

What happens if you don’t treat an abscess

If you don’t seek proper treatment for an abscess–or if you stop taking antibiotics early–it can have very serious results.

Some potential results of an abscess include the infection spreading to your jawbone, neck, face, and even your heart. It can be a fatal condition if you don’t seek treatment.

Additional treatment

If you have an abscess, it may start with a simple toothache. If you don’t treat it, you may notice that the toothache will go away, but this doesn’t mean you don’t have the infection anymore.

An abscessed tooth can kill the nerve inside of your tooth, which will make the pain stop. But when this happens, we might not be able to save the tooth, which might mean that you’ll need to have the tooth removed.

Most often, we try to save the tooth by first draining the pus and prescribing antibiotics. After that, we may perform a root canal. This dental procedure removes the infected inner pulp from your tooth and replaces it with another substance. 

The last step of the root canal procedure is usually getting a crown. This protects the vulnerable inside surface of your tooth with a cosmetically beautiful exterior. Usually, this process takes place over two visits.

If you have symptoms of an abscess, you should definitely call the dentist right away. Contact Dr. Anette Betancor of Dente Complete Dentistry or request an appointment online.

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