Menu
Referrals Emergencies

Treatment finder

blog inner thumb : Lighthouse Dental

27 / 11 / 2018

How to Deal With A Dental Abscess

This Painful And Potentially Serious Problem Should Be Dealt With Quickly

It is quite likely that several of you who are reading this blog will have experienced some dental pain during your lives.

A toothache is never fun and can range from mild irritation to severe pain that stops you from sleeping. Although most toothache is caused by tooth decay, there is one particular cause of toothache that almost guarantees that you will be in quite severe pain, and that is when a dental abscess is present.

If you have a dental abscess or suspect that something is wrong with a tooth, you should always have it checked out by one of our Ipswich dentists straight away. Although the abscess may currently be contained within the mouth, the infection can spread throughout the body and cause problems such as septicemia which can even prove to be fatal.

What is a dental abscess?

An abscess occurs when an infection causes a small pocket of pus to be formed. These usually occur in either the teeth or gums but can also be present in other areas of the mouth such as the tongue or cheeks. This pocket becomes larger as the infection takes hold causing swelling to occur. Many patients with an abscess can also experience flu-like symptoms, with a high temperature and nausea being not unusual.

Although most abscesses develop following the onset of tooth decay, they can also be caused by trauma of the tooth, gum disease and even in those who have very poor oral health care. As an abscess expands, it creates gaps in the enamel of the teeth and allows the infection to spread to the root canals of the teeth. As this is where the nerves of a tooth are located, it isn’t hard to see why, at this stage, it can be incredibly painful.

Can an abscess be treated?

Although it is possible to reduce the level of pain by taking a painkiller, this will not deal with the problem, and may even cause you to delay seeking treatment, a course of action which could potentially be very dangerous. Your first response to a suspected abscess should always be to contact the Lighthouse Dental Practice and, especially if you are in pain, make an emergency appointment to see a dentist. Once you have done this, your regular painkiller may be used, and rinsing the mouth with a saline solution several times a day will help to reduce the swelling a little too.

Before any treatment is given, we will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums and clean the infected area. Depending on the location of the abscess, the dentist may then either lance the abscess or alternatively, a small hole may be drilled into the tooth to enable the pus to be drained. You may also be prescribed an antibiotic to counteract the infection. It is important that you allow this treatment to be carried out by a dentist. Lancing the boil at home can lead to the spread of the infection to other areas of the body which could be dangerous.

If the abscess has already reached the root canals of a tooth, this will almost always require a root canal procedure to treat it and preserve the natural tooth. This is a safe and effective procedure and patients should not be deterred by the myth of the pain levels the treatment is alleged to bring. The reality is that the procedure is performed using a strong local anaesthetic and any discomfort experienced should be manageable.

To perform a root canal procedure, the dentist will access the top of the tooth (having previously made sure you are numb of course). The infected material is then removed from the canals, which are then cleaned and filled, before being restored with a dental crown. This is the only effective way to treat a tooth that is infected in this way. The only other alternative is to remove the tooth altogether which we always try to avoid if possible.

Preventing abscesses

Whilst some patients who have illnesses that affect the immune system, such as diabetics and HIV/AIDS patients are at a greater risk than the majority of people, the fact is that everybody who wants to avoid an abscess should take the correct care to look after their teeth. The usual twice-daily brushing and flossing every night is a good start. You can often improve the way that you do this too by seeing our Ipswich dental hygienist for advice on the best method to use. In fact, you should also have your teeth professionally cleaned by the hygienist at least twice a year, and more often for those at a higher risk, as this is a great way to help keep your teeth healthy and also minimises the risk of gum disease.

In addition to seeing a hygienist, you should also see your dentist on a six-monthly basis, or more frequently when recommended. If you experience any unusual symptoms or are in any discomfort in between appointments, you should always have it checked out.

If a dental abscess is present, it needs to be treated, both to save the natural tooth and potentially, your general health.

To make an appointment at the Lighthouse Dental Practice, please call us at our Ipswich clinic on 01473 257379.

We are here to help you.
If you would like to speak to a member of our friendly team about any of the issues in this article please visit our contact page or call us on 01473 257379.

Back to Blog
lighthouse icon
stars 1

“Hygienist, Angela sets you at ease from the moment you walk in the door. She is not only really thorough but also very caring and explains what she is doing throughout the ...“

Jenny

stars 1

“Wow! The service I received from Jane was absolutely fantastic; she went above and beyond to assist me so that I wasn't left out of pocket. I wish everyone had a person lik...“

Dee D

stars 1

“I am 70 years of age, and I have always been afraid to go to the dentist. A broken tooth and my wife threatening to leave me if I did not get it replaced soon made me find a ...“

Earlmain L

stars 1

“I booked an emergency treatment appointment, having had a tooth for a few days and was unable to get an appointment with my regular practice. I have to say the service was am...“

Ginette S

stars 1

“As a nervous patient, I was very worried about having my tooth removed. I was instantly put at ease by the reception staff and the dental team. They regularly stopped to check...“

Susannah B

stars 1

“Having not been to a dentist in over 25 years, I was a bag of nerves when I arrived, but I must admit Dr Tocca was very professional and explained everything as he was going t...“

Nick K

View All Testimonials Leave Us A Review
lighthouse icon
stars 1

“Hygienist, Angela sets you at ease from the moment you walk ...“

Jenny

stars 1

“Wow! The service I received from Jane was absolutely fantast...“

Dee D

stars 1

“I am 70 years of age, and I have always been afraid to go to...“

Earlmain L

stars 1

“I booked an emergency treatment appointment, having had a to...“

Ginette S

stars 1

“As a nervous patient, I was very worried about having my too...“

Susannah B

stars 1

“Having not been to a dentist in over 25 years, I was a bag o...“

Nick K

View All Testimonials Leave Us A Review
lighthouse icon
stars 1

“Hygienist, Angela sets you at ease from the moment you walk in the door. She is not onl...“

Jenny

stars 1

“Wow! The service I received from Jane was absolutely fantastic; she went above and beyond ...“

Dee D

stars 1

“I am 70 years of age, and I have always been afraid to go to the dentist. A broken tooth ...“

Earlmain L

stars 1

“I booked an emergency treatment appointment, having had a tooth for a few days and was una...“

Ginette S

stars 1

“As a nervous patient, I was very worried about having my tooth removed. I was instantly pu...“

Susannah B

stars 1

“Having not been to a dentist in over 25 years, I was a bag of nerves when I arrived, but I...“

Nick K

View All Testimonials Leave Us A Review

Treatments

Treatments

Popular treatments

instagram instagram

Instagram

[instagram-feed feed=2]

Get in touch

Call Us

Location

  • pin 27 High Street
  • Ipswich
  • IP1 3QH

Operating hours

  • time

    Monday to Friday   |   08:30am - 17:30pm (phone rings until 17.30)

  • time

    Saturday by appointment only

enquiry shape1
enquiry shape2
Google Rating
4.9
Google Rating
Google Rating