Do I have an abscess tooth?
Chapko and Shah Modern Dentistry serve the Belvidere and surrounding communities in Boone County, Butler County, McHenry County, Ogle County, and Winnebago County.
Let’s be honest, an abscess tooth really hurts. Fortunately the tooth is easily treatable. The easiest way to explain an abscess tooth is that it is a pocket of pus, caused by a bacterial infection, and the infection then moves bacteria from the root of the tooth to the tissue just below or near the tooth.
In general, a tooth that has become abscessed is one whose underlying pulp (the tooth’s soft core) has become infected or swollen. The pulp contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue, and lies within the tooth. It extends from the crown of the tooth, to the tip of the root, in the bone of the jaws.
An abscessed tooth can be an extremely painful condition.
In some cases, antibiotics are administered in an attempt to kill an infection. If antibiotics are ineffective and an abscess is shown to be damaging the pulp or lower bony structures, a root canal procedure may be needed to remove the dead pulp and restore the tooth to a healthy state.
What causes an abscess tooth?
There are several causes for an abscessed tooth. Commonly, a dental cavity becomes so large and deep that is reaches the pulp chamber. When the cavity reaches the pulp, inflammation occurs (pulpitis) and is characterized as a toothache.
Other causes for an abscessed tooth can include an injury to the mouth, dental crowns or fillings that get too close to the pulp chamber, or damage caused by grinding your teeth.
Any tooth can develop an abscess, but most commonly the third molars (wisdom teeth) are more prone than others to developing an issue. Due to their positioning in the mouth, they are more difficult to clean effectively with daily brushing and flossing.