When is An Abscessed Tooth An Emergency?

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A tooth abscess is an infection found in your mouth in the inner part of a tooth. The pus accumulates in the tooth and can cause pain in individuals who have the condition. For example, tooth abscesses can result from an untreated cavity. Also, it can be due to a chip in the tooth that allows bacteria to reach the inner part of the tooth, which is the pulp, and the tooth gets infected.

Once the bacteria reach the pulp, it spreads down to the tooth’s root causing the gums to swell and inflammation. Once you experience inflammation, it forces the pus into the tight space, the abscess at the tip of the root where swelling occurs.

The pus will build up at the site of infection, causing more pain until it is either drained surgically or drains on its own. The infection can also progress until it reaches a point where it can block the airway causing difficulties in breathing. Tooth abscesses can make you generally ill with vomiting and sweats.

Symptoms of A Dental Abscess

When having a tooth abscess, you’ll experience several symptoms that include:

  • Swelling and redness in your face
  • Experiencing a sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
  • You feel a pain that spreads to your jaw, ear, or neck on the same side as the infected tooth
  • Shiny, red, and swollen gums
  • Having tender, loose or discolored teeth
  • An intense throbbing pain that may come suddenly and get worse gradually in the affected tooth
  • Experiencing pain that is worse when you lie down, which may make you feel uncomfortable when sleeping
  • Having unpleasant taste or bad breath in your mouth

When the infection spreads, you might experience fever or feel generally unwell. You should visit an emergency dentist near you if you feel sick for treatment.

When the abscess in your tooth gets severe, you might have difficulties in opening your mouth entirely.

When Should I Seek Emergency Care If I Have An Abscess?

It would be essential to visit your dentist immediately once you notice any signs or symptoms of a tooth abscess.

If you have a swelling or a fever in your face and you cannot reach your dentist, you should visit an emergency dentist for an abscessed tooth emergency treatment. At the emergency room, your issues will be addressed. Being unable to breathe or swallow indicates that the infection has spread more profound in the jaw and some tissues in your body.

How is A Dental Abscess Treated?

When an abscessed tooth is being treated, draining of the abscess and ridding of the infection is done. Your dentist may save the tooth with a root canal treatment, but it is eradicated if severely damaged. When a tooth abscess is left untreated, it can lead to life-threatening complications. Therefore, our dentist at Montgomery Dental Associates & Implantology Center may recommend the following treatments:

Root Canal Procedure

If possible, your tooth will be saved by your dentist performing a root canal. First, the tooth will be cleaned and disinfected on the outside. Then it is drilled into and cleaned out from the inside of the tooth. Finally, a safe adhesive cement is filled to the tooth to restore its functionality. It also protects your tooth from infections in the future. The restored tooth can stay for a lifetime if you take good care of it.

Extracting or Pulling The Affected Tooth

Having your tooth extracted is the last decision you and your dentist must make. But if the tooth is highly infected and cannot be saved, your dentist will choose this option to preserve your overall oral health. Once the tooth is extracted, the abscess will be eliminated and cleaned to prevent further infection.


If you get an infection located around the abscessed area, antibiotics may not be appropriate. However, if the infection has spread beyond the abscessed area, your dentist will prescribe some antibiotics. The antibiotics help slow and diminish the condition, especially if the patient has a weakened immune system.

Your dentist will regularly recommend rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater when the area is healing. Also, they’ll advise you to take over-the-counter pain relievers to help in reducing pain.