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Abscessed Tooth Symptoms

Dental abscesses happen when the nerve inside of your tooth is infected and becomes inflamed – leading to drainage of the pus out the tip of the tooth root.

If we suspect an abscess, our experienced dentists at Purity Dental Mulgrave will recommend a periapical X-ray that shows the entire root structure. From there, we’ll check if there’s a dark radiolucency around the root tip, which is indicative of a dental abscess.

A painful toothache can raise the alarm that there’s a “big issue” going on somewhere in your mouth. Tooth pain doesn’t always mean there’s a severe infection like an abscess but to avoid any serious complications, come and see one of our dentists at Purity Dental!

But the lack of pain doesn’t mean you’re in the clear, either. If you suspect that you may be a victim of a dental abscess, here are some of the warning signs to look for:

Severe Toothache and Swelling in the Face/Jaw

One of the most common signs would be a throbbing and relentless toothache. The pain can become excruciating, often radiating to your jaw, ear or neck. An abscess often causes swelling in the affected areas, this can be accompanied by redness or warmth.

Heat Sensitivity

Nerve damage feels different than most cavities because your tooth nerve becomes hypersensitive to things like heat.

Visible Fistula

Fistulas look like small pimples. They’re on the gums nearest the tip of your root. The swollen area is caused by pus accumulation draining out of the root and through the bone to relieve pressure.

Salty Taste

Sometimes, that cyst becomes so large that it needs to drain. As such, it creates a small opening through the gums, where the pus drains out of the tooth through the gums and into the mouth. When abscesses drain, it can cause a sour, metallic, or salty taste inside of your mouth. You may notice this the most when a fistula bursts.

Pain When Biting Down

Since your tooth has thousands of tiny ligaments that hold it in place, they flex and stretch every time you chew. An abscess around the root of your tooth means that pressure is applied to the area of swelling every time you bite down. It may be too painful to bite on at all.

Large Cavities

Do you have a filling that you’ve been putting off? Your cavity may have expanded deeper into the tooth, to the point that the nerve is now infected. You’ll need to have an X-ray taken to be certain.

In some cases, our dentists may place you on antibiotics to help heal the initial infection. Excessive swelling and inflammation can make it difficult to anaesthetise or numb the tooth, so antibiotics help prepare you for the next phase of treatment. However, antibiotic therapy does not stop the infection or keep the abscess from coming back.

So what’s next? Endodontic therapy (aka root canal treatment). By removing the infected nerve structures and sealing the canal, we can medicate the inside of the tooth and then seal it off, preventing the risk of reinfection. Root canals are the only treatment available for restoring abscessed teeth. If we allow the infection to go untreated, the tooth will start to resorb (shrink away) from the inside, ultimately requiring an extraction.

Call Our Mulgrave Dentists!

Purity Dental offers gentle restorative care, including root canals to treat abscessed teeth. Endodontic therapy can help you protect your tooth for several more years. Avoid unnecessary tooth loss and call our Mulgrave dentists today on (03) 9540 8900.