Dental Infection Treatment 1

Dental Infection Treatment

If you take great pride in your oral hygiene practices, you may feel certain that you will never experience an oral health issue or dental infection. It’s true that practicing good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing every day and receiving regular dental examinations and cleanings, can help to protect against many of the things that normally contribute to oral health issues or dental infections. However, there are many other things that can hurt or irritate your mouth, leaving room for bacteria to enter in and cause an infection. Dental infections are not only uncomfortable or even painful to experience, they are dangerous to both your oral health and your general health. It is therefore important to receive proper treatment for dental infections as soon as possible.

Treating Dental Infections

One of the main types of dental infections that can occur is an abscess. An abscess is a painful swelling in the mouth that is filled with pus. It is the body’s effort to form a protective barrier around an infection and prevent it from spreading. Unfortunately, this is the extent to which the body can “handle” the infection–and if left untreated it can grow worse.

The two main types of abscesses include gum or periodontal abscesses and tooth-related abscesses. Gum or periodontal abscesses normally occur in the space between a tooth and the gum around it, and can be caused by food that has been trapped there. Tooth-related abscesses occur inside of the tooth itself, normally when the nerve of the tooth is dead or dying and infection begins at the root and spreads into the surrounding bone. Abscesses often form very rapidly, in as little as one to two days after an infection starts, and if not addressed rapidly can spread and cause extensive problems.

In most cases, abscesses are painful and therefore drive individuals to seek dental treatment right away. However, there are some cases where abscesses cause very little or even no pain, and the individual does not therefore seek dental treatment. Unfortunately, the infection will not go away on its own, and will last months or even years until the patient receives the dental treatment necessary to resolve it. In the meantime, the infection can spread and damage surrounding bone and teeth, steadily worsening the individual’s oral health. This is why even minimal symptoms and changes in one’s oral health condition should be noted, and one’s dentist notified. Minor infections can grow into major problems if not addressed, but even major infections can often be successfully resolved if appropriate treatment is rendered as soon as the problem is discovered.

In order to resolve a gum or tooth abscess, a dentist needs to thoroughly clean the area, eliminate trapped pus and treat the infection. Depending upon the severity of the infection, the dentist may need to take x-rays to determine the exact source and extent of the infection. Infections in the tooth require that a small hole be made so that the trapped pus can be drained. In most cases, tooth infections and abscesses require root canal treatments prior to being closed up with a dental filling or crown. That said, severe tooth infections and abscesses may require that the entire tooth be removed, in which case a dental implant may be the best restorative treatment option. In either case, the dentist may determine that antibiotics are warranted in order to help kill off the infection and prevent it from spreading.

A Final Note

Whenever dental infection has occurred in the mouth, whether it is a minor infection that was caused by trapped food or a more severe infection caused by injury or something else, the dentist will want to ensure that one’s general health and oral hygiene habits are strong enough to prevent a reinfection in the future. This may include a discussion and demonstration of proper brushing and flossing methods, as well as a discussion about one’s nutrition. It is, of course, well worth it to take this advice to heart and help further strengthen your oral and general health.


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