What is it?
A dental/tooth abscess is a collection of pus that can form inside the teeth, in the gums, or in the bone that holds the teeth in place. It’s caused by a bacterial infection. They can sometimes spread to other parts of the body and make you ill.
What are the symptoms?
Dental abscesses are often painful, but aren’t always. An abscessed tooth causes moderate to severe pain that can sometimes radiate to your ear or neck. Symptoms of an abscess in your tooth or gum may include: an intense, throbbing pain in the affected tooth or gum that may come on suddenly and gets gradually worse pain that spreads to your ear, jaw and neck on the same side as the affected tooth or gum pain that’s worse when lying down, which may disturb your sleep redness and swelling in your face a tender, discoloured and/or loose tooth shiny, red and swollen gums sensitivity to hot or cold food and drink bad breath and/or an unpleasant taste in your mouth If the infection spreads, you may also develop a high temperature (fever) and feel generally unwell. In severe cases, you may find it hard to fully open your mouth and have difficulty swallowing or breathing.The main symptom of an abscessed tooth is throbbing pain near a tooth or in your gums. The pain usually comes on suddenly and gets worse over time. Other symptoms include: pain that radiates to your ear, jaw, or neck pain that gets worse when you lie down pain when chewing or biting facial redness and swelling swollen, red gums tooth sensitivity discolored or loose teeth bad breath foul taste in your mouth tender or swollen lymph nodes in your neck or under your jaw fever If an abscess ruptures, you’ll feel almost immediate pain relief. You might also notice a sudden bad taste in your mouth as the pus drains out.
- Try eating cool, soft foods if possible, using the opposite side of your mouth
- Use a soft toothbrush and temporarily avoid flossing around the affected tooth
- Practice good oral hygiene
- Have regular dental checkups every six months.
Avoid hot or cold food and drink if it makes the pain worse
Things to watch out for
It’s important to get help as soon as possible, because abscesses don’t go away on their own. Left untreated, an abscessed tooth can turn into a serious, life-threatening condition. Contact your dentist or 000 as soon as possible