Is An Abscessed Tooth A Dental Emergency?

Posted on: 5 April 2023

Abscesses can become dangerous and life-threatening if they are treated as soon as possible. You should also take care of the issue that led to the abscess to avoid them in the future. To find out more about abscesses and why they are dental emergencies, read on. 

Know How to Spot an Abscess

Not everyone experiences pain with an abscess and that makes them doubly dangerous. An abscessed tooth is a dental condition that occurs when a bacterial infection develops in the root of a tooth, causing a pocket of pus to form around the infected area. It can be a painful and serious condition that can lead to tooth loss and even spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.

While the symptoms of an abscessed tooth can include severe toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, swelling in the gums or face, fever, and a bad taste or smell in the mouth, some people only begin to become alarmed when they develop a fever and feel unwell. 

Abscesses are Dental Emergencies

If an abscessed tooth is not treated promptly, the infection can spread to other parts of the body and lead to serious complications. Some of the potential consequences of an untreated tooth abscess include:

  • Spread of infection: The infection can spread to the jaw, neck, or other areas of the body, leading to potentially life-threatening conditions such as Ludwig's angina, a severe bacterial infection that affects the floor of the mouth and neck.
  • Tooth loss: If the infection is severe enough, it can destroy the root of the tooth and cause it to become loose or fall out.
  • Sinusitis: The infection can spread to the sinuses, causing chronic sinusitis.
  • Osteomyelitis: The infection can spread to the bone, leading to a condition called osteomyelitis.
  • Sepsis: In rare cases, the infection can spread to the bloodstream, leading to a life-threatening condition called sepsis.

How an Abscess is Treated

Treatment for an abscessed tooth typically involves draining the pus and treating the infection with antibiotics. The dentist may also recommend a root canal procedure to remove the infected tissue and save the tooth. In some cases, if the tooth is too damaged to be saved, it may need to be extracted.

To prevent an abscessed tooth, it's important to practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly, getting regular dental check-ups and cleanings, and avoiding sugary or acidic foods and drinks. If you experience any symptoms of an abscessed tooth, it's important to see a dentist as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Speak to a local dental service to find out more.


About Marcel and the Dentist

Hi, my name is Marcel. Welcome to my site! I started it to help others learn about children's dentistry. Most of us don't remember dentist trips from our early childhood. Maybe we didn't even really care about our teeth until we started losing baby teeth. In my case, I became interested in children's dentistry as a young father. When my kids were young, I was a student, and our insurance did not cover visits to the dentist. Although my wife and I tried to teach our kids good hygiene on our own, it was difficult. When we we finally able to take them to the dentist, my little girls were scared and didn't know what was going on. Luckily, they appreciate the dentist now that they are older, but their first experiences helped teach me more about the importance of children's dentistry. Hopefully you can learn from my experiences!