Diagnosis, Treatment, Complications and Prevention of Tooth Abscess

Tooth abscess is a common dental health problem, which may lead to serious complications if not treated properly.ID-100133108

Diagnosis of tooth abscess:

For diagnosing tooth abscess your dentist will first inspect the affected area as well as the entire oral cavity. Then your dentist may perform some tests:

  • Tapping of affected tooth: slight taping on a tooth with tooth abscess will show sensitivity to touch and/or pressure.
  • X-ray: this can identify the affected tooth with abscess easily. Some times your dentist may ask for a CT scan to find details about the spread of the tooth abscess to nearby areas.
  • Laboratory tests: sometimes your doctor/dentist may ask for few lab tests to diagnose infection and to determine antibiotic sensitivity for better treatment especially if antibiotic treatment is not giving satisfactory result.

Treatment of tooth abscess:

The aim of treatment of tooth abscess is to drain the abscess and remove infection, which can be achieved by RCT (root canal treatment), tooth extraction and/or antibiotics. Root canal treatment can save your affected tooth. Along with root canal treatment or tooth extraction, prescription of antibiotics is essential, especially if infection spreads to adjoining areas. If infection is localized to abscess area only, antibiotics may not be necessary.

What are the complications of tooth abscess?

If you have tooth abscess, it will not go away without appropriate treatment. The main complication of tooth abscess is spread of infection to nearby tissues, such as jaw, head and neck. Sometimes tooth abscess may lead to sepsis –a life threatening infection. The risk of spread of infection or sepsis is higher if you have weakened immune system.

How to prevent tooth abscess

The most important aspect of preventing tooth abscess is to prevent tooth decay and cavity formation, which can be achieved by good dental/oral care. Good dental care to prevent tooth abscess include:

  • Brush your teeth daily at least twice, preferably after every meal with good quality toothpaste.
  • Use dental floss to remove food debris that may remain in between your teeth.
  • Use drinking water that has optimal fluoride level.
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly, before bristles become frayed.
  • Take well balanced diet with low sugar diet.
  • Get dental check-ups every 6 months.
  • Consider using mouthwash daily.

Image courtesy of sippakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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