What Is a Dental Abscess?

Girl suffering from tooth pain and touching cheek while sitting on couch at home. A dental abscess is a painful infection that occurs in the teeth and gums. If left untreated, a dental abscess can lead to serious complications and may even require surgery to remove the infected tissue. With proper treatment, however, most dental abscesses can be successfully addressed to restore the smile back to health. Dr. Steven E. Holbrook of Albuquerque, NM, can educate you further on what causes dental abscesses and how they can be diagnosed by him and his team.

What Causes a Dental Abscess?

Dental abscesses are typically caused by bacterial infections that occur in one or more of your teeth. These infections can develop in several different ways, including:

  • Tooth decay. This occurs when bacteria are left behind in the teeth after a cavity has formed and spread to the pulp of the tooth. If this infection goes untreated, it can lead to the development of a dental abscess.
  • Gum disease. When plaque and tartar build-up on your gums and between your teeth, it leads to inflammation and infection of the gum tissue. When untreated for an extended period of time, this type of infection can also lead to a dental abscess.
  • Trauma to the mouth or jaw. Any injury or trauma that causes damage to one or more teeth can potentially cause bacterial infections within those teeth, which may then progress into a dental abscess.

How Is a Dental Abscess Diagnosed?

To diagnose a dental abscess, Dr. Stephen E. Holbrook will typically perform a thorough examination of your mouth and teeth, as well as take X-rays or other imaging tests to view the affected area in greater detail. He may also conduct additional tests, such as blood work or cultures of the infected tissue, to determine which bacteria are responsible for causing the infection. Once he has identified the type of bacteria present and its source, he can prescribe an appropriate course of treatment based on this information.

Do You Suspect You Have a Dental Abscess?

Schedule an appointment with our dentist to obtain an evaluation and get a proper diagnosis to start treatment. Call 505-881-1159 to request a consultation and initial examination.

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