Emergency Dentistry Biology – Abscessed Teeth

I want to add some articles on this site about the biology of dentistry as well, I think it’s important for the business owners of 24 hour dentists sites to understand this side of dentistry.  So I asked my dentist to write a few articles about dentistry and the anatomy side of things! J.F.

If you have a toothache – get to the dentist as soon as possible. This may seem obvious to you but, there are reasons to visit the dentist other than relieving the pain.

One example – it could be an abscess.

What is an abscessed tooth?

An abscessed tooth is an infection that has reached the root or is close to the root. The infection starts in the middle of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are located. Prior to the tooth becoming abscessed, the tooth loses its natural ability to fight off infection. This leaves the tooth vulnerable to attack from relentless bacteria within the body. With the tooth vulnerable – the bacteria enter the middle of the tooth, also known as the pulp chamber, and begin to multiply. As the bacteria multiply, the progressively growing infection spreads from the pulp chamber to the root and into the bone of your tooth. With the bacteria in the root – tissue debris, dead white blood cells, and other bacteria collectively form pus in the root – which is what we call an abscess.

Signs and Symptoms of an Abscess

– Discoloring of the tooth (dark)

– Swelling or visible pus pocket on gums

– Pain

If you notice discoloring of the tooth – this is caused from pulp byproducts absorbing into the outer tooth layer.

Swelling of the face or jaw area is a visible indication of a growing and active infection. The most noticeable indication of an abscess is the pain on the tooth – pain that is more severe when eating or applying pressure to the top of the tooth.

The pain experienced from an abscess can be extremely debilitating – many pain medications bring no comfort when the abscess has reached the structures of the gums and bone area around the tooth.

An abscessed tooth may not have any symptoms. If the tooth has previously lost the ability to feel or react to bacteria intrusion – you may not realize you have an abscess. This is one more reason why regular dental checkups are a good idea. If you have an undetected abscess, it’s spreading a constant flow of infection to your body – and this could potentially lead to many other health issues.

Abscesses and emergency dental care

If you are in a situation that requires emergency dental care – call your dentist. If your dentist is not available – get to an emergency room.

In certain cases, infections from abscessed teeth can spread rapidly and require immediate care. If you have a fever that accompanies tooth pain, swelling in the face or jaw – check yourself into an emergency room as quickly as possible.

If you ever encounter tooth pain, swelling, or any of the other typical symptoms and have no access to a dentist or transportation to reach an emergency room – Call 911.

Your health is important and you never know how damaging that, seemingly innocent, tooth pain has become.


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