Tooth abscess - contents this page
Xray photo of a tooth abscess
You can also see from this x-ray picture of my tooth, that the tooth was sitting proud - forced up a fraction by the pressure of the pus sac underneath it. The pus from the root abscess, having made it's way into the mouth, could easily cause bad breath as well, as the pus is quite stinky. The root canals and top of the tooth appear much brighter in the x-ray picture, in comparison to the other teeth, as the tooth had root canal work - which fills in the roots with a denser substance - and the crown that is capping the tooth is again made of a much denser material than that of tooth. With only a 25% to 80% chance of saving the tooth and then at a cost of nearly $3000 and much time and discomfort, I took the easy way out and had the tooth extracted - at this stage in the tooth abscess process, the tooth abscess is normally unbearably painful - unable to sleep, unable to find relief, with any pressure on the tooth causing horrific pain.
However, as a side note, if you had your crown put on for purely cosmetic reasons, your sucess rate for retreatment maybe around 90%, and if your crown doesn't have to be replaced, then the cost may be as low as around $1500.
It should be noted that the explanation of, and points of reference in the xray, are not definitive in a diagnosis. A dark spot on an xray could also mean cancer, an abscess, or many other things. Your dentist makes the diagnosis of tooth abscess based on your xray AND your presenting symptoms.
Tooth abscess DefinitionA tooth abscess is an infection of the tooth or root of the tooth.
If the root of the tooth is dead, it is referred to as being a dead tooth and the the dentist has likely filled the tooth and root canals after drilling and cleaning the tooth and root canal out. If this the case, the likely scenario is that the tooth abscess has formed more in the root or bottom part of the tooth, with the infection in the tooth abscess generating pus. The pus from the tooth abscess causes swelling because the pus takes up space. The swelling or enlargement of the tooth abscess is causing most, if not all of the symptoms of the tooth abscess - with the pain and toothache coming from other nerves it may be stimulating below or near the tooth, but not in the tooth as such, though it may feel that way.
If the root of the tooth is still alive, then the infection in the tooth abscess is upsetting the nerve of the tooth, thus generating pain. This is the typical scenario of tooth decay, with the tooth abscess forming in the soft pulp in the center part of the tooth.
Tooth abscessesWith good oral hygiene, it is unlikely that a person will have tooth abscesses. Normally a tooth abscess occurs on it's own - that is, an infection of one tooth. However, if that tooth infection goes unchecked, other teeth may become compromised by the infection as well.
Tooth abscess causesThe cause of a tooth abscess is an infection. So the question in looking at the cause of tooth abscess, is how did the infection get there?
Common Causes of tooth abscess:
Firstly - The infection was there when the tooth had dental work performed on it; such as a crown, or root canal, or filling. Normally the tooth had been compromised by infection through a cavity in the tooth. The germ, that would later go on to form the tooth abscess, was NOT completely killed off when the tooth was repaired.
Secondly, the cause of a tooth abscess may be time delayed. If it has been a while since the tooth had work on it - then, for some reason the tooth abscess germ, which was there, is now out of control and has now formed a tooth abscess - this loss of control of the infection is put down to a degraded or weakened immune system at that time the infection took hold. For some reason the immune system just isn't up to keeping the germ in check - that's the theory of it anyway.
Thirdly, the cause of tooth abscess may be age related: A weakness in the tooth develops as it ages, such as a microscopic crack, which allows the infection to enter the tooth, or the gum withdrawing from the tooth, allowing a germ to enter more easily. Being aged also can mean a degraded immune system is more common.
Fourthly, the cause of the tooth abscess may be a cavity that has allowed a germ to enter the soft pulp part of the tooth, which is upsetting the nerve.
Tooth abscess SymptomsThere are several tooth abscess symptoms:
The tooth abscess symptoms in a dead tooth - a tooth where the nerves have been removed or died - tend to follow stages, based on the extent of the swelling of the tooth abscess.
An early tooth abscess symptom is the feeling that the tooth may be becoming loose, even though the tooth shows very little movement at all. This symptom may last about two days.
A slightly later indicating tooth abscess symptom is the feeling that the tooth is sitting a bit higher than usual - caused by the tooth abscess's infection pus build up - it's swelling or enlargement - underneath the tooth, which raises the tooth to slightly rise up. The symptom of pain caused by the tooth abscess may or may not be present at this time.
The later stage symptom of a tooth abscess is a combination of the symptoms of pain, discomfort and sometimes the feeling that the tooth is about to explode - I have a crown, so this feeling that the tooth is swelling and trapped by the crown is very real.
In the real late stages, tooth abscess symptoms include, when left untreated, the tooth abscess infection will eat away the jaw near it, cause the teeth to drop out.
In the very last stage, the tooth abscess symptoms include not only the disfigurement of the face through the compromise of the soft facial bones, but also often in death, as the tooth abscess infection can spread through out the body, causing heart attack and so on.
The tooth abscess symptoms in a live tooth is normally sharp pain on contact with fast airflow, such as breathing in and out really, really fast through the teeth. The air enters the cavity and irritates the abscess. Generally if a tooth reacts painfully to cold fluids, it is a good sign that the tooth can be repaired with the nerve kept intact. On the other-hand, if the tooth reacts badly to warm or hot fluids, it suggests the tooth nerve has been compromised by the tooth abscess, which means it will likely be more costly to repair, as it may involve the removal of the nerve - root canal treatment - leaving you with a dead tooth.
Tooth abscess TreatmentThe common treatment of tooth abscess normally involves three options:
One tooth abscess treatment option, is the use of antibiotics, when the tooth is already dead and sealed by a dentist. The antibiotics kill the germ responsible for the tooth abscess and the body then repairs the bone and tooth, normally pretty good.
The second tooth abscess treatment, is root canal treatment, which is the drilling out of the root canal and infected area, cleansing out the infection, then resealing the tooth. Antibiotics appear to be rarely prescribed, as the dentist will normally paint the insides with a germ killer.
The third tooth abscess treatment involves extracting the tooth, cleansing the area, then allowing the wound to heal - antibiotics may be prescribed.
Choosing a good dentist is really important for the treatment of a tooth abscess, particularly if there is a root infection and a crown on the tooth: Many dentists may advise you to have the tooth removed and an artificial tooth inserted or refer you to a specialist to do the crown and root canal again. The bottom line is that the dentist who did the tooth for the first crown and or root canal, may not have cleaned out the root canals as well as they needed to be.
Tooth abscess Pictures
Tooth abscess antibioticsTooth abscess antibiotics - typically penicillin ones - are normally prescribed by the dentist, after the dentist has taken X-rays to confirm the presence of the infection. Tooth abscess antibiotics normally control the tooth abscess extremely well, with most of the tooth abscess symptoms being alleviated within two or so days. the tooth abscess healed in about a five day course of antibiotics.
The problem in using tooth abscess antibiotics, is that they are unable to penetrate into the tooth - the blood supply is through such small blood vessels that antibiotics are too big and are unable to travel along them. So the antibiotics used for tooth abscess often only has limited success, with later episodes of tooth abscess occurring as the infection gains a foot hold again - for me this means a recurring tooth abscess roughly every year or so. In other words, the tooth abscess germ once it gets into the tooth, can live there and breed there, but antibiotics cannot touch them in there.
This later problem in using tooth abscess antibiotics, only exists if the germ has entered the tooth.
Tooth abscess and DeathExplained much already, but to recapitulate: Tooth abscess can cause the death of the tooth and it can literally be the death of you. Never leave tooth abscess to it's own end and where-ever possible, get to a dentist ASAP. Remember, infection can spread and affect the heart and it literally eats into the soft facial bones. Not something to fool around with.
Tooth abscess Complications
Avoid and or minimize tooth abscess complications by treating the tooth abscess as early and as professionally as you can.
It may create an eruption (fistulae) through the skin, with the pus leaking and draining out into the mouth or through the cheek, or it may erupt into the bone area and travel along the path of least resistance, infecting the surrounding tissue and possibly damaging nerves, as it travels. Either is pretty gross.
When the eruption occurs, the tooth abscess may initially have it's symptoms greatly relieved, as the pressure caused by the pus has been relieved. It is, however, short lived, as the spreading infection can create much severer symptoms, such as pain, as more healthy tissue and bone become compromised by the germs.
Tooth abscess Home Remedy / Home Treatment
This tooth abscess home remedy is for the root abscess of the tooth, as shown in the diagram above. This home remedy for tooth abscess may not be suitable for a pulp abscess of the tooth, as shown in the diagram above.
My home remedy for tooth abscess are antibacterial Strepsil throat lozenges. Cheap, fast and easy to obtain.
The trick was to put the Strepsil next to the gum area of the tooth with the abscess, so that the antibacterial effect is as close to the infection as one can get it.
With this tooth abscess home remedy, it is important to keep the lozenge in position for several hours, without sucking it.
Another requirement of this home remedy for tooth abscess is to relocate the lozenge to the other side of the tooth abscess about every half hour. So, it's between the lip and gum for half the time and for the other half, the lozenge is between the tongue and the gum.
Tooth abscess Parting CommentsMy parting comment on tooth abscess: Learn what the symptoms are for you personally and respond to an attack as quickly as possible. Leaving your tooth in a damaged or abscessed way, means your ability to work, to be a parent, a spouse ... may be impaired as well. Think about the consequences of tooth abscess, before you put material possessions first.
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