Not all dental issues are emergencies. Sometimes you may feel some discomfort as the result of a troublesome wisdom tooth or mild decay, but these problems do not need to be addressed immediately. There are, however, certain conditions that require attention as soon as they are detected. One such condition is a dental abscess, which is an infection that can grow within two distinct areas of the mouth: the gums and teeth. In any case, these abscesses can sometimes cause severe pain and swelling and lead to further infection that, in extreme cases, can endanger one's life. Seeking the help of a dentist as soon as you become aware of an abscess is highly recommended.
How to prevent getting an abscess
A dental abscess is usually the result of an existing infection worsening. These original infections are spawned by bacteria found in plaque, a combination of saliva and food particles that can build up to harmful levels if you don't clean your mouth regularly. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing and using mouthwash regularly, and visiting the dentist for a check up at least once every six months will help you stay on top of your oral hygiene. These measure can prevent a list of other oral maladies as well, such as tooth decay and inflammation.
How to recognize the signs that you have an abscess
That said, if an abscess does form, you'll be able to tell due to a number of signs. The most obvious sign is moderate to high throbbing pain and discomfort in the area of infection. You may also notice swelling and nausea or find it difficult to swallow food and drink.
If so, what are your options
If you discover an abscess in your mouth, contact your dentist when possible. Telling them that you suspect you have an abscess will mean they are more likely to prioritise your check up. While your dentist may prescribe you pain medication and an antibiotic to manage any swelling you may be experiencing, if it is an abscess, your dentist will decide what the best course of action is to remove it. What type of treatment you require depends on the type of abscess you have. This includes incisions, root canals, different forms of surgery, and other options.
It can't be stressed enough—a speedy reaction is best. This is true for any type of medical or dental emergency, be it dental abscesses or fractured teeth. If you're not sure whether you have an abscess, consult your dentist for their professional assessment anyway. It's better to be safe than to be sorry.