What is An Abscessed Tooth?
An abscessed tooth is a dental condition in which the nerve of the tooth, also referred to as the dental pulp, has become infected. The infection usually occurs when a dental cavity (tooth decay) goes untreated and spreads deep within the tooth.
The infection can also occur from a broken or cracked tooth where the dental pulp is exposed to the oral environment. The bacteria that cause an abscess can spread down the length of the roots and into the surrounding bone tissue.
Abscessed Tooth Treatment
Once a tooth has an abscess, the treatment options consist of root canal therapy to clean and remove the infection or tooth extraction. Root canal therapy is a predictable and usually pain free procedure. If a wisdom tooth is involved, most commonly the tooth is removed. The prognosis for an abscessed tooth is good, especially if caught early.
A dental professional may opt to place the patient on antibiotics at the time of treatment in order to prevent the infection from spreading further within the soft and hard tissue. Antibiotics are not always indicated and usually are prescribed at the discretion of the treating doctor.
Warm compresses and pain management with anti-inflammatories are the best home remedies; however, the infection cannot be properly or fully addressed without seeing a dentist. Do not place aspirin directly over the gum tissue, this can lead to direct damage of the surrounding tissue.