It’s another sunny, spring day in Los Angeles and you have plans to head down to Venice Beach to see the sights. Suddenly, your plans are halted by an intense pain in your mouth. You’re immediately flooded with internal questions like, “How can I stop this pain?” and “What caused this?” Your dentist in Los Angeles says you could have an abscess of either your gums or teeth and will explain the symptoms, causes and treatment protocols for both.
What is a Dental Abscess?
A dental abscess is a response mechanism that your body uses when there is a bacterial infection. It’s a barrier that your body forms around an infected area to prevent any pus from draining and spreading throughout the rest of your body.
When you have an abscess, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Continuous, throbbing pain
- Increased pain when eating or drinking hot or cold items
- Foul or bitter taste in your mouth
- Bad smell in your mouth
- Swelling or reddening of the face or gums
The Two Types of Dental Abscesses
There are two types of dental abscesses that you may experience:
- Gum Abscess – This is usually caused by an infection of the space between your teeth and gum tissue. It can happen when food is trapped between the teeth and gums or in people who suffer from severe gum disease, where bacteria have built up under the gums and in the bone.
- Tooth Abscess – A tooth abscess occurs inside the tooth when the nerves are dead or dying. The abscess forms at the roots and can spread to the underlying bone.
How Your Dentist Treats a Gum Abscess
For gum abscesses, your dentist will do the following:
- He’ll first clean the area thoroughly.
- The next step is to allow the trapped pus to escape.
Treatment for a Tooth Abscess
If you have a tooth abscess, your dentist has a few options, including:
- He may make a small hole in your tooth to release the pus.
- In other cases, he may have to perform a root canal procedure, where he makes an incision to get into the inner area of the tooth to remove the decayed tissue, and then fill and seal it.
- If the damage to the tooth is too severe, he may have to remove it.
When you notice any of the above symptoms, you should immediately reach out to your emergency dentist in Los Angeles to get guidance and a visit. Until you can be seen, you can try gargling with salt water to reduce the acidity in your mouth, avoid consuming items with extreme temperatures and apply ice to your face for any swelling.
Your local dentist is trained to help in these situations and restore the normal function of your teeth and gums, so if you find yourself in this predicament, be calm – help is just a phone call away.
About the Author
A highly accomplished and award-winning professional, Dr. Les Latner has been practicing dentistry for nearly four decades. Still, this graduate of the Washington University in St. Louis School of Dental Medicine remains committed to expanding his knowledge and skills. A lecturer and provider of comprehensive dental care, Dr. Latner practices at Westside Dental Associates and can be reached for more information through his website.