An abscessed tooth, or periapical abscess, is a painful condition caused by infection in a badly damaged or decayed tooth. Once the nerve dies in a badly damaged tooth, infection can cause a fluid buildup where the soft pulp tissue lies in the center of the tooth. The pressure and swelling can be quite painful.
Do I have an abscessed tooth?
In an abscessed tooth, the nerve is dead or almost dead, so the tooth is usually not sensitive to cold. Cold may actually make the tooth feel better as it causes the swelling to reduce some, causing less pressure. The tooth will be sensitive to touch however, and the patient will feel pain even when the dentist gently taps on the tooth. Biting and chewing may be very painful and the gums may be swollen and red.
What is an abscessed tooth?
An abscessed tooth, or periapical abscess, is an infection of the tissue inside of a tooth with a dead nerve. Often this is the result of an untreated severe cavity, but could result from a deep filling or from trauma to the tooth. The pain and pressure comes from a buildup of fluid inside the tooth. This painful condition needs to be treated immediately to prevent further infection and damage.
How will we treat it?
We will eliminate the infection and attempt to preserve as much of the tooth as possible. An abscessed tooth is often treated with a root canal, if the tooth can still be saved. This procedure removes the nerve and pulp center of the tooth, but saves the root and some of the surface tooth structure. The tooth is then filled and fitted with a dental crown. If a tooth is too badly damaged to save, we may have to extract the tooth.
Why do I need to take care of it?
Our goal here at Spyros A. Koutsioukis, D.M.D. is always to save as much original tooth structure as possible. If an abscessed tooth is caught before the infection spreads too far, we can perform a root canal and save the tooth. An untreated abscess can lead to total loss of the tooth, and can spread infection to other teeth, the gums, jaw and other areas of the body.