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Dental Abscess Pain — What You Need To Know About It

If you’re suffering from a toothache, it may be a sign that you have a tooth infection or abscess. A dental abscess is a pocket of pus that can collect inside a tooth, the gums, or even the bone holding the teeth in place. Dental abscess pain can be excruciating, but not always. In either case, it should be treated as a dental emergency and looked at as soon as possible since it can sometimes spread to other areas of the body, making you ill. 

In this post, we discuss:

  • the symptoms of a tooth abscess
  • what to do if you have a dental abscess
  • how to relieve dental abscess pain
  • dental treatments for a tooth abscess
  • causes of a dental abscess
  • how to prevent a tooth abscess

So, let’s dive in and get started. 


Symptoms of a dental abscess 

Tooth abscess symptoms vary and include: 

  • Redness and swelling in the facetooth abscess treatment sydney
  • Throbbing, intense pain in the affected tooth or gum which may suddenly occur and gradually worsens 
  • Pain that is worse when you lie down and may disturb your sleep
  • Pain that spreads to the ear, neck and jaw on the side of the affected tooth
  • Shiny red and swollen gums
  • A discoloured tooth that may feel tender and loose
  • Bad breath and a nasty taste in the mouth
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures

Should the infection spread, you could also develop a high temperature and fever and feel unwell. In severe cases, you may struggle to open your mouth fully and have trouble breathing and swallowing. This being the case, you have a dental emergency on your hands and should visit an emergency dentist immediately or go straight to your local hospital’s accident and emergency department. 


What to do if you have a dental abscess?

You should contact your dentist immediately if you are suffering dental abscess pain. There’s no point in visiting your local GP, as there’s little they can do. Most dentists set aside hours in their day for anyone with a dental emergency, regardless of whether or not they’re registered with them. If it’s out of hours, there should be a phone number to call for emergency dental care. 


Relieving your symptoms

While you’re waiting to see a dentist, there are a few things you can do yourself to help relieve dental abscess pain. Ibuprofen is one of the best painkillers for a dental abscess, but Paracetamol is another painkiller you could try. It may also help to:

  • Eat soft, cool foods on the opposite side of the mouth 
  • Avoid hot or cold food and drinks as they could make the pain worse 
  • Refrain from flossing around the affected tooth and gently brush with a soft toothbrush. 

These measures can alleviate dental abscess pain temporarily, but don’t be tempted to avoid getting help from your dentist.



Treatments for a tooth abscess 

It’s important to understand that the role of an emergency dentist is primarily to get you out of pain and make you feel more comfortable. You may still need to book an appointment for further treatment with your local dentist. 

Dentists typically treat dental abscess pain by removing the source of the infection and draining the pus away. Depending on the location of the tooth abscess and the severity of the infection, potential dental treatments include:

  • Incision and drainage – this is where the dentist makes a small cut in the gum to drain away the pus. This is usually a temporary treatment, and you may require further treatment.
  • Root canal treatment – This involves removing the infection and draining the canals before sealing them to prevent reinfection.
  • Tooth extraction – Removing the affected tooth may be necessary if root canal treatment is impossible.

The above procedures will be performed under local anaesthetic, so you shouldn’t feel any pain. Antibiotics may also be prescribed if the infection is severe or spreads.  


emergency dental abscess sydneyWhat causes a dental abscess?

Everyone’s mouth is full of bacteria which forms a sticky film on the teeth known as plaque. If the teeth aren’t cleaned correctly, acids produced by bacteria-laden plaque can damage the teeth and gums, leading to gum disease or tooth decay. The following circumstances can increase the chances of developing a tooth abscess:

  • Consuming copious amounts of sugary or starchy foods and beverages. (Bacteria in plaque thrive in these conditions, leading to decay and an abscess.
  • Failure to brush and floss your teeth at least twice daily enables the plaque to build up on the teeth
  • Having a weakened immune system and a health condition such as diabetes or receiving chemotherapy or steroid treatment.
  • Injury or previous surgery to the teeth and gums could enable bacteria to enter damaged areas in the teeth or gums.


Tips to prevent dental abscess pain

You can lower your chance of developing a tooth abscess by keeping the teeth and gums as healthy as possible. You can do this by:

  • Brushing twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Spitting out the excess toothpaste but avoid rinsing your mouth with water, as this instantly washes away the protective toothpaste.
  • Using dental floss or an interdental brush at least once a day to clean between the teeth and beneath the gums.
  • Cutting down on sugary foods, especially between meals and shortly before going to bed. 
  • Visiting your dentist regularly at least every six months or how often your dentist advises. 


Are you suffering from dental abscess pain?

You could have a dental abscess if you have a throbbing toothache. Don’t put up with excruciating pain. It won’t go away of its own accord. Call our emergency dentist today on (02) 8007 6727 to schedule an appointment.



Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. 






Medical News Today – What Happens When A Tooth Infection Spreads?

NIH – Diabetes, Gum Disease and Other Dental Problems,and%20other%20mouth%20problems%20increases.




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