Warning Signs that You Have an Abscess

Warning Signs that You Have an Abscess

We love to be in the know. That’s why our phones light up with notifications every few minutes, alerting us to world events, weather changes, social happenings, and personal news. 

Fortunately, our bodies also have a built-in notification system. And if we miss those alerts, we may lose the chance to address the problem before it progresses. 

That’s why Dr. Nupur Gupta and our team at Perfect Smiles Dental of Pleasant Hill, California, want to take a closer look at one of the first warning signs of a dental emergency: abscesses. Here, we walk you through what an abscess looks and feels like so you can get treatment quickly. 

What is an abscess?

An abscess is a mass that forms as the result of an infection. While it can show up virtually anywhere on your body, one of the most common areas is your mouth. Abscesses can occur at the tip of your tooth root or be visible and show up on your gums near your teeth.

They typically stem from infection in the space between the teeth and gums or from periodontitis disease (a type of gum disease caused by plaque buildup).

Anyone — and any tooth — can get an abscess, but factors such as poor dental hygiene, high-sugar diets, and chronic dry mouth increase your risk. 

How do I know I have an abscess?

There are some oral health conditions that develop slowly and some that even go unnoticed. But the opposite is true for an abscessed tooth The most common symptoms of a dental abscess include the following:

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Gupta if you notice any of the above symptoms, and seek emergency medical attention if you develop a fever, notice swelling in your face or cheek, and/or have difficulty breathing or swallowing.

What are my treatment options?

If you suspect you have an abscess, it’s important to understand that they don’t go away on their own, even if they rupture. 

Without treatment, the underlying infection can easily spread to your jaw and other areas of your head and neck. 

In the worst cases, an untreated abscess can trigger sepsis, which is a life-threatening infection that spreads throughout your entire body. This risk increases significantly if you have a compromised immune system. 

It takes the skill and expertise of a trained dentist like Dr. Gupta to carefully drain the abscess and then perform the necessary procedure to save your tooth. Depending on your needs, we may recommend a root canal or an extraction to completely remove the damage. In some cases, a course of antibiotics may also be appropriate to eradicate the infection. 

How can I prevent abscesses?

The best way to avoid an abscess from ever happening again, follow these oral health guidelines:

If you think you have an abscess, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at our Pleasant Hill, California, office today. 

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