An abscess is a tender, often painful lump of tissue that is full of pus. Abscesses are usually caused by a bacterial infection or a foreign body like a splinter. They can appear anywhere on the body and when around a hair follicle are known as boils. This article will focus on dental abscesses.
An abscessed tooth usually starts as a cavity or a cracked or broken tooth. Although sometimes the result of poor dental care, teeth can be damaged from a mouth injury, grinding teeth at night or other trauma. Certain medical conditions can also trigger an abscess.
If not treated, the infection from an abscess can spread into the tissues and bones around the abscess, causing greater pain and facial swelling. According to Web MD, a tooth abscess can also make you "generally ill, with nausea, vomiting, fevers, chills, and sweats."
If a dental abscess develops, a dentist will usually recommend a root canal or an extraction. There is a great deal of debate between the holistic/alternative community and endodontist/dental community about which procedure is preferable. A dentist will usually also prescribe an antibiotic to control the infection. If not treated, an abscess can be deadly.
If you think you have an abscess, you should see your dentist or doctor. In the meantime you can use a warm salt rinse and Ibuprofen to relieve some of the symptoms. You can read about my personal experience with a tooth abscess here.
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