A dental abscess is a bacterial infection in the tooth or gum. Dentists actually distinguish two types of dental abscess:
Apical abscess. This is the one we usually think of when we talk about a “dental abscess”: the apical abscess usually results from untreated decay which has evolved into pulp necrosis – in short: the dental nerve is mortified to the point of at the root. The bacteria then migrate inward, towards the bone, forming an abscess.
Periodontal abscess. This is an attack on the gum: the periodontal abscess can be caused by an unsupported periodontal disease (by periodontitis , most often) or by a wisdom tooth push.
What are the symptoms of a tooth abscess?
The symptoms of tooth abscess are as follows:
- In the event of an apical abscess (or “tooth abscess”), there is swelling of the gum either very high (almost at the level of the external part of the tooth) or very low (almost at the level of the bone).
- In case of periodontal abscess, there is swelling of the gum , rather in the middle of it.
“Gingival edema is inflammatory, which means that it is red, swollen and warm to the touch, notes Dr. Edmond Binhas, dental surgeon. After 3-4 days, a yellow ball is seen to form (filled with pus) in the center of the abscess. This formation is faster in children and can occur within 6-12 hours.”
Tooth abscess may also be characterized by severe pain (which gets worse with chewing), fever (over 38 ° C), abnormal fatigue and / or lymphadenopathy (swelling of the glands under the jaw, or even neck level).
When the tooth abscess develops into a fistula (that is, a discharge of pus forms under the tissues), the pain may decrease. This is, however, a factor of seriousness.
Tooth abscess: what complications?
”Left untreated, acan develop into infectious cellulitis: the face swells very impressively, the eyes close, the neck and cheeks swell. It is a generalized infection that requires treatment. Emergency “explains Dr. Binhas.
Tooth abscess: should you make an appointment with the dentist?
Yes, it is absolutely necessary. From the first symptoms of a dental abscess (swelling in the gum, more or less extensive, painful, inflammatory), it is essential to make an appointment with your dentist. ”Do not wait for the pocket of pus to appear” advises the specialist.
The risk is to develop infectious cellulitis, an infection spread to the entire face: it can lead to sepsis (a generalized infection of the blood) or meningitis (inflammation of the meninges that protect the brain). , Two potentially fatal pathologies.
Tooth abscess: what are the treatments?
Faced with an apical abscess, the dentist will perform a root canal drainage: “this consists of opening the tooth and cleaning the root to its end to eliminate the infection “specifies Dr. Binhas. In case of periodontal abscess, the dentist will make an incision and drainage to sanitize the area.
The operation can take place under local anesthesia: the dentist can then prescribe antibiotics. ”If the dental abscess is associated with swelling of the face, it is better to go to the Emergency Department” recalls the dental surgeon.
Tooth abscess: what can be done at home to relieve the symptoms?
While waiting for the essential appointment with the dentist, one can use analgesic drugs (paracetamol ) to calm the pain caused by a dental abscess. ”On the other hand, anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, etc.) should be avoided, which can promote the spread of bacterial infection,” notes Dr. Binhas.
No question of stopping brushing your teeth: “do 1 to 2 mouthwashes per day, using an antiseptic mouthwash formulated with chlorhexidine” advises the dentist.
The aromatherapy reflex. The essential oil of Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia Maiden.) Is recognized for its antibacterial properties – in detail, it is bactericidal and bacteriostatic. In case of dental abscess, we put on a mouthwash with Tea Tree by mixing 5 drops of essential oil in a glass of lukewarm water, to repeat 4 times a day until the appointment at the dentist. This remedy is contraindicated in pregnant women and people with epilepsy.