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What is a dental abscess? What causes it and how can it be cured?

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enotes | Valedictorian

Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:17 PM via web

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What is a dental abscess? What causes it and how can it be cured?

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sciencesolve | Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 7, 2014 at 7:14 PM (Answer #1)

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The dental abscess occurs when either bacteria pass through an opening in the tooth enamel, infecting the pulp, or the tooth suffers a trauma, like chipping.

The infection causes the collection of pus and the swelling of the tissues around and within the tooth. The pus contains bacteria, white blood cells and dead tissues.

The symptoms of the abscess are the throbbing pain, which it cannot be stopped if the process of spreading of infection continues, fever, teeth sensitivity, swollen jaws and glands of the neck, breath odor.

The treatment of dental abscess is based on the identification of the cause of infection and it aims the cure of saving the tooth. The treatment routine usually involves antibiotics that fight against the bacteria that caused the infection. It may be useful to perform a root canal to save the tooth and if the infection becomes severe, the tooth can be extracted and the abscess drained through surgical intervention.

The prevention measures, such as early treatment of dental caries, can reduce the risk of dental abscess and its complications (blood infections, brain abscess, endocarditis, pneumonia, osteomyelitis) that sometimes can become life-threatening.

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eli468 | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted July 2, 2014 at 10:57 PM (Answer #2)

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A dental abscess is when pus accumulates inside the teeth or gums. It is also known as a tooth abscess. Normally the abscess occurs from a bacterial infection that typically is in the soft part of the tooth. This can occur due to a buildup of plaque, which is where the bacteria can come from, if teeth are not properly cleaned and cared for.

There are 3 types of dental abscess. 

Gingival abscess- the abscess is only in the gum tissue and does not affect the tooth or the periodontal ligament

Periodontal abscess- this abscess starts in the supporting bone tissue structures of the teeth

Periapical abscess- this abscess commences in the soft pulp of the tooth

Most of the time a dental abscess occurs due to a complication of a dental infection, mainly due to bacteria from plaque.

The treatment for a dental abscess depends on the type of abscess. They can cut out the abscess and drain the pus. This treatment is called an Incision since they incise the abscess. 

If it is a periapical abscess they will normally perform a root canal and put a root filling in to prevent further infections.

A periodontal abscess is drained and the periodontal pocket is cleaned. They use a technique called scaling and smoothing to help the tooth heal and try to prevent further infections.

Those who have a recurring infection can get surgery where the diseased tissue is removed for a periapical abscess. For a periodontal abscess with infection that keeps coming back, and oral surgeon can reshape the gum tissue and take out the periodontal pocket.

If the abscess continues to recur even after all these treatments they will just extract the tooth.

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