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Tooth Abscess Treatment Guide

Tooth abscess treatment provides welcome relief to painful symptoms. Though most tooth abscesses are painful, some have no noticeable symptoms at all.

Many abscessed teeth cause a severe toothache due to pressure that builds up as a result of the infection.

Some abscessed teeth have a drainage tract or fistula that looks like a pimple on the gum tissue near the root tip.

The drainage fistula may get bigger or smaller at times but never completely goes away.

Because the drainage tract relieves pressure (and pain) from the infected area, these teeth may not have any other symptoms.

Treatment is recommended for an abscess with or without pain to prevent a future toothache and rid the body of chronic infection.

Signs of an abscessed tooth

  • Pain that is brought on by hot, cold or chewing.
  • Constant or frequent aching that doesn't go away without pain medication. 

See your dentist as soon as possible if you have these symptoms.

Severely abscessed teeth can cause a fever, tender lymph nodes, or swelling of the cheek, jaw or neck. These symptoms are more urgent and should not be ignored.

See your dentist, physician or go to the ER if you have these advanced symptoms that indicate the infection is spreading.

Treatment for an abscessed tooth...

Antibiotics - Antibiotics may be prescribed to improve the infection and ease the pain. Antibiotics alone are not usually enough and are often prescribed before or after a root canal procedure.

Root canal - Though a dreaded dental procedure, a root canal improves tooth pain and relieves the pressure caused by the infection. Many wrongly associate the pain from an abscessed tooth with a root canal. Root canals are the solution, not the problem and can be painlessly completed thanks to dental anesthetics and highly skilled dentists or endodontists.

Re-treatment - In some cases, a root canal may have to be repeated. Tooth nerves are not all the same. Some teeth have an extra canal that can easily be missed the first time a root canal is done. A root canal that has to be retreated is not unusual and is not the fault of the dentist in most cases.

Apicoectomy - When a root canal has not cured the pain or there is still infection near the root tip, a surgical procedure called apicoectomy can be done. The tip of the root is removed and any infection around the root tip is cleaned out in this procedure.

As involved as it sounds, this procedure is very tolerable and the results are reliable. An endodontist uses a microscope to see the infected area and find the cause of infection.

As a last resort, teeth with a dental abscess can be extracted either when treatment has failed or if the patient doesn't want to have additional treatment.  A tooth implant may be possible.

It is important to treat abscessed teeth with or without symptoms. Chronic infection is not good for your health and an abscessed tooth without symptoms has the potential to develop a painful toothache.

Learn more about tooth nerve pain here.  

Learn about sinus pain that causes tooth pain here.

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