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tooth abscess symptoms sydney

Tooth Abscess Symptoms – Is An Abscess A Dental Emergency?

A dental abscess is an infection that can occur in a tooth or the gum tissue surrounding a tooth. Without treatment, the infection can worsen, spreading to other parts of the body, where it can potentially be life-threatening e  for a small number of people. For this reason, a dental abscess should always be treated as a dental emergency

But what exactly is an abscess, and what tooth abscess symptoms should you be aware of? Let’s take a look. 


What is a dental abscess?

A tooth abscess is a pocket of fluid (pus) that forms in the mouth. It’s part of the body’s natural defence mechanism in the fight against infection. While an abscess can occur anywhere in a tooth, it’s common for it to form at the tip of a tooth’s root, but pus can also collect in a pocket between the tooth and the gum tissue. 


Tooth abscess symptoms

abcessed tooth emergency dentist sydneyThe following signs indicate that you have a dental abscess:

  • A raging toothache
  • Pain when chewing or biting food
  • Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Swollen lymph nodes beneath the jaw
  • A pocket of pus on the gum line near the affected tooth

With prompt treatment, a dental abscess shouldn’t be a significant cause of concern. Our dentist will usually carry out a routine drainage procedure. Sometimes, a root canal may be required to save the tooth. While it’s not a fun-packed way of whiling away a morning or afternoon, it’s a relatively quick fix. 

If you suspect you may have a dental abscess, contact our emergency dentist, and we’ll do all we can to fit you in for a same-day appointment. 


What are the tooth abscess symptoms that indicate a tooth infection is spreading?

If an abscess bursts, you could notice a horrible taste in your mouth or even a salty fluid. Any pain is also likely to subside, making you conclude that the worse is over. 

Unfortunately, that may not be the case. 

A ruptured dental abscess can be a sign that an infection is spreading. Should the infection enter the bloodstream, it can trigger a severe medical condition known as sepsis. An estimated 18,000 Australian adults are placed in extensive care annually for sepsis, and almost 5,000 of them will die. This is more than double the number of road deaths.

If you notice your abscess has burst, contact an emergency dentist immediately or head straight to the dental emergency department at your local hospital. By doing so, you can receive medical care before undergoing a dental procedure. An abscess doesn’t always rupture on its own. Other times it may rupture when the infection has already worsened. 


How does a dentist test for a dental abscess?

A dentist can test if a patient has a drainable abscess by performing a physical examination. If a patient presents several tooth abscess symptoms and an abscess can’t be spotted visually, an x-ray may be required to see if it is in the deepest part of the tooth. 


What are the treatment options for a dental abscess?

Our dentists have several treatments to call upon and may use a combination of the treatments below. You should know that an emergency dentist may only look to get you out of pain initially, and may book you for a dental procedure the next day or the earliest available appointment. 



Treatment options will be tailored to your specific needs, but often our dentists use a combination of the procedures below. 



Whenever possible, the dentist will cut the abscess open to allow the pus to drain. They may also remove any dead tissue and wash the area with a saline solution. 


Antibiotic therapy

It isn’t always possible or that easy to drain a dental abscess. A severe infection can counterbalance the effects of a local anaesthetic, making it difficult for the dentist to numb the area for treatment. In particular, lower molars are hard to numb when severe infection occurs. In such instances, the patient will be given appropriate antibiotics to reduce the infection so that local anaesthetics become effective for treatment. 


emergency dental care dental abscess sydneyRoot canal 

A root canal may also be performed as a dental emergency treatment for an infected tooth. This procedure involves removing the nerve, veins and arteries in the centre of the tooth root, helping to drain the pus and remove the infection.

Once the infection has healed, the dentist uses a dental crown to restore the weakened tooth and provide additional strength and protection. 


Tooth extraction

If the tooth can’t be saved, our dentists have no option but to extract it to drain the pus and help the area heal. 



If there is increased swelling despite antibiotic therapy, the patient may have to be treated in a hospital setting. If left untreated, swelling can affect breathing and swallowing and obstruct the airways. 


Can a tooth abscess be prevented? 

Adopting a good oral routine at home can reduce the risk of a dental abscess and dental emergency. This includes:

  • Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing once before going to bed
  • Lowering the consumption of sugary foods and drinks.
  • Not smoking.
  • Attending regular dental check-ups and cleaning.


Don’t wait for pain and infection to spread

Now you know the tooth abscess symptoms, contact your dentist for an urgent appointment or get in touch on (02) 8007 6727 with an emergency dentist if they’re unavailable on the same day. Schedule an appointment with a No Gaps Dental clinic of your choice. Remember, your dental emergency is our emergency. 



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





Healthline – Is it Possible to Die from a Tooth Infection?

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: What Is Sepsis?

Clinical Excellence Queensland: Prevalence of Sepsis,number%20of%20road%20toll%20deaths




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