A periodontal abscess is a pocket of pus that occurs in the tissues that support the tooth, called the periodontium, due to a bacterial infection.
It usually occurs with a severe gum disease known as periodontitis, which causes the gums to detach from the teeth. This detachment forms a kind of deep pocket in the gums, where bacteria can grow and forms pus. When pus cannot drain, it creates an abscess.
The periodontal abscess causes pain worse when biting with the affected tooth and stabbing pain in nearby teeth. Also, the abscess can cause a fever and spread to the ear, jaw, and neck. Other signs and symptoms include red gums, swelling, pus discharge, and bad breath. It can also cause long-term damage to your teeth and gums. Teeth can loosen and fall out.
Symptoms of periodontal abscess:
- Sudden, stabbing, and persistent pain
- Gum redness
- The gum is swollen and hurts to touch
- Pain when biting or chewing
- Dental mobility
- Pus discharge
- Bad taste in the mouth (by the discharge of pus)
- Bad breath
- The pain can radiate to the jaw, ear, and neck
These signs and symptoms indicate that the infection has spread to other parts of the body and require immediate treatment:
- Fever and fatigue
- Tenderness and swelling of the lymph nodes under the jaw
- Difficulty swallowing and breathing
Treatment of a periodontal abscess
Periodontal abscess does not go away on its own and must be treated in the dental office. An untreated tooth abscess can spread to other parts of the body, for example, the jaw and neck. Therefore, visit your dentist as soon as possible to treat the infection and relieve pain.
In most cases, your dentist will give you antibiotics to stop the infection. The abscess may need to be cut or punctured so the pus can drain to ease your pain and stop the infection. However, this is a temporary solution, and you will need further treatment, such as tooth extraction or oral surgery to repair the bone damage caused by the abscess. Other alternatives are scaling or root planning and root canal treatment.
How to prevent the formation of a periodontal abscess?
A periodontal abscess usually occurs as a complication of advanced gum disease (periodontitis). Therefore, you must keep your gums and teeth healthy to prevent it. Follow the next tips:
- Practice good oral hygiene: brush your teeth properly and floss regularly to remove food debris and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums. Additionally, you can supplement brushing with mouthwash to help prevent or reduce gingivitis.
- Avoid smoking – Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors in developing gum disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking weakens your immune system, making it harder to fight a gum infection and make it harder for your gum to heal.
- Maintain a balanced diet: eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, and avoid sugary foods or drinks.
- Visit the dentist regularly – Your dentist can detect the early signs and symptoms of gum disease. Therefore, you should schedule your visit to the dentist in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, or Port Hueneme at least once every six months to remove tartar and treat gingivitis before it becomes severe.
If you have persistent pain, swollen gums, pus discharge, or pain that is worse when biting, visit Channel Island Family Dental as soon as possible; this way, you can avoid serious complications.
At Channel Island Family Dental, we will be focused on your visit and make a timely diagnosis. Additionally, our dentists in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, and Port Hueneme will be able to help you with the best possible treatment. Follow us on Facebook