Two Types Of Dental Abscesses Explained
Dental abscesses are caused by a bacterial infection that leads to the formation of pus. The two main types of abscesses are periapical and periodontal. Symptoms of both types of abscesses include gum inflammation, tooth pain, increased sensitivity of the affected tooth, and a fever. However, the location of the pus build-up and the treatment approach varies with the type of abscess, so here's an overview of both periapical and periodontal abscesses:
Periapical abscesses are caused by tooth decay and occur when bacteria infects the pulpy layer in the centre of your tooth. The pus accumulates within your tooth and can rot your tooth from the inside out, leading to tooth loss.
A periapical abscess is treated by draining the pus out of the centre of your tooth. Your dentist will drill a small hole into your tooth to allow the pus to drain, which should relieve your pain. The next step is to remove the damaged tooth pulp by carrying out a root canal treatment. You may have this treatment on the same day the pus is drained, or your dentist may wish you to take a course of antibiotics and return for the root canal treatment in a few days.
Root canal treatment involves having a small file inserted into your tooth through the hole that was made to drain the pus. Your dentist will use the file to scrape out the tooth pulp before cleaning the tooth out with disinfectant and filling the hole. Your tooth won't degrade further as a result of the pulp being removed, but you may find the affected tooth is more sensitive to temperature changes than it was before you had the pulp removed.
Periodontal abscesses are caused by gum disease and occur when pockets form along your gum line, leaving a space between your gums and teeth. Bacteria move into these pockets and cause pus to form as your gum tissue comes under attack. If left untreated, the bacteria causing your periodontal abscess can spread into your sinus cavities.
A periodontal abscess is treated by puncturing the soft tissue of your gums to drain the pus. The next step is to clean out the abscess with disinfectant before closing over the space to prevent further infections. Your dentist will encourage the open pocket to close over on its own by filing a thin layer away from the base of the affected tooth, which typically prompts the tissue regeneration process to start. If your gum tissue hasn't begun to close over after a few weeks, you may need gum contouring surgery to close the space. This procedure evens out your gum line and closes the gap by lifting your gum tissue and sealing it in its new position.
If you're experiencing tooth pain or inflammation around your gum line, schedule an appointment with your dentist at a place like Acorn Dental Centre as soon as possible to prevent any potential infection spreading.