Toothaches or tooth pain can be caused by a number of different conditions, some more serious than others. Of all the causes of tooth pain, an abscessed tooth is one of the more serious dental health problems. An abscessed tooth is a painful condition that is caused by an infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth.
An abscessed tooth can result from severe tooth decay, dental trauma or gum disease. The most common cause of an abscessed tooth is severe decay. Severe decay and tooth trauma such as a chipped or broken tooth can cause openings in a tooth’s enamel that allow bacteria to infect the center of the tooth (nerve and pulp). This infection can also spread from the pulp to the root of the tooth and/or the surrounding bones and structure.
If you have severe, throbbing and/or shooting pain in a specific area in your mouth, it may be due to an abscessed tooth. In this case, you need to get in and see your dentist right away! Other symptoms of an abscessed tooth include fever, pain when chewing, sensitivity to hot and cold, bad breath, swollen neck glands, redness and swelling of the gums, and an open, draining sore on the side of the gum.
When you visit your dentist, he or she can determine the best method for treating your abscessed tooth and eliminating your pain. To eliminate the infection, the abscess may need to be drained. This can be achieved with a procedure called a root canal. After a root canal procedure, the center of the tooth is this cleaned and sealed to prevent further infection. In some cases of an abscessed tooth, the tooth is extracted, allowing drainage through the socket. A third way to drain an abscess is to make an incision into the swollen gum tissue.
Failing to seek treatment for an abscessed tooth will only lead to more painful and expensive dental problems. If you have been ignoring your tooth pain, schedule an appointment with your dentist today.