Infections can appear anywhere in the body and like most, dental infections can be mild or they can be extremely dangerous. When an infection appears in the gum area, it is known as an abscess. Abscesses can be both uncomfortable and more harmful than they might at first appear. Read on to learn more so that you can be prepared for this common condition and know what to do.
Do You Have an Abscess?
When your mouth hurts, the pain can be difficult to ignore and most people will call their dentist right away. An abscess usually presents with:
- Pain in the area of the abscess. It's worth noting that in some people, there is no pain present with an abscess.
- Pus pocket on the gum. It can be on the outer or inner gum area above the tooth line.
- Fever and chills
- Vomiting, in some cases.
- Sour or bad taste in the mouth and bad breath.
Blame it on Bacteria
Abscesses need bacteria to form and bacteria often form near an opening in a tooth or in the gum. Decayed and/or broken teeth allow bacteria to enter the gum area where it festers and becomes an infection. You may or may not have a pocket of pus that you can feel with your finger or tongue, but you will often be able to feel an unusually sore area. Abscesses need antibiotic treatment or they will worsen.
In most cases, abscesses resolve with prompt antibiotic treatment. If you fail to seek treatment or if you are immune compromised and more vulnerable to infections, an abscess could turn out to be deadly. Your gums are connected to your sinus cavities to your brain, which provides a pathway for the infection to travel to your brain.
Additionally, infection can cause your throat and mouth to swell, which could cut off your airway. If you feel very sick, don't wait for a dentist appointment. Go to the nearest emergency room right away. You can be given intravenous antibiotic treatment in an attempt to resolve the infection and you will be observed until the danger is past. What you should never do is to assume that an abscess is a minor mouth issue that will just go away without treatment.
The best way to prevent abscess is by preventing the bacteria that causes them. Get regular check-ups and cleanings and stay alert to the signs of infection in your gums. Contact a clinic, like Rupp and Grabowski Family Dentistry, for more help.