Dental Abscess or infection
An abscess is a collection of pus that forms inside the teeth or gums due to a bacterial infection. Some common symptoms of an abscess include pain in the affected area, fever, a pus-filled blister in the gum or jawbone area, and a bad taste in the mouth. Symptoms can worsen and cause difficulties opening the mouth, swallowing and breathing. Depending on the type of abscess, antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent from infection spreading and treatment may include draining of the abscess. Treatment could also involve root canal therapy or a tooth extraction. If you’re suspecting a dental abscess, call your dentist right away – an abscess may lead to facial cellulitis, a life threatening medical emergency.
Pericoronitis (infection around a partially erupted tooth such as a wisdom tooth)
Pericoronitis is inflammation of the gums over a partially erupted tooth. The gums may become infected and swollen. This frequently occurs around wisdom teeth. Food, plaque and bacteria get caught underneath the gums which then causes the inflammation and infection. Symptoms of pericoronitis are pain, infection, swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck and possibly a bad taste. Treatment for pericoronitis may include an antibiotic, irrigation of the area, and warm salt water rinse to help the swelling of the affected area. Call your dentist immediately to schedule an appointment to evaluate the wisdom teeth and determine the proper course of treatment.
Some things you can do to prevent dental emergencies
- Always wear a mouthguard when participating in contact sports or recreational activities.
- Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels, or hard candy.
- Never use your teeth to cut or tear anything.
- Maintain great home hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and using an oral irrigator.
- See your dentist regularly in order to discover any problems early on, and to prevent dental complications in the future.