Cavities are one of the most common oral problems that patients run into. Caused by bacteria and germs that sit on the tooth for too long, cavities cause holes in the tooth, which can lead to a variety of problems like an infection or pain. Often, a cavity is mistaken for an abscessed tooth when an abscessed tooth may be the result of a cavity. So, what is an abscessed tooth?
What’s an Abscessed Tooth?
An abscessed tooth is when the tooth itself or the gums around it get infected. There are two types of abscesses that we commonly see patients for:
- Periapical Abscess: A periapical abscess occurs when a cavity goes untreated and then it causes infection at the tip of the root.
- Periodontal Abscess: A periodontal abscess occurs within the gums on either side of the tooth’s root.
How Is It Treated?
If we can, we will try to save the tooth and perform a root canal. During a root canal, we will clean out the bacteria and infection from the inside of the tooth and take out the root. Then, we will seal it off so that no more bacteria can enter into it.
In some instances, if we cannot perform a root canal, we will have to remove the tooth and then replace it with a dental implant.
What are the symptoms?
Having pain in your mouth is never a good thing; especially if it’s persistent. One of the reasons why patients mistake a cavity for an abscess due to the constant pain. Other signs of an abscessed tooth include:
- Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Pressure when chewing or biting
- Tender, swollen lymph nodes
- A sudden foul smelling or tasting fluid in the mouth if the abscess ruptures
- Trouble breathing
- Trouble swallowing
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it could mean that you have a cavity or it could mean that you have an abscess. The best thing that you can do is come into our office, get an exam, have some x-rays done, and then get a proper diagnosis. To learn more about tooth abscesses, contact our Albuquerque office and call (505) 881-1159.