February 13, 2020

How a Dentist Can Provide Relief for a Painful Abscessed Tooth

older man bald head holding jaw from tooth pain

An abscessed tooth is a serious oral health condition that’s known for the intense pain it can cause. But that’s not the full extent of its problems. Thus, it’s important to seek immediate care in such situations from an emergency dentist in Mobile. As you read on, you’ll discover what causes an abscess to form, why it’s dangerous to ignore and how it can be treated.

What is an Abscessed Tooth?

A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that can form when oral bacteria growth has gone untreated. It can cause severe pain that radiates to the jaw, ear and neck, which can sometimes make the problem harder to diagnose.

Although the condition can cause its fair share of discomfort, the formation of an abscess is a protective mechanism to localize and temporarily stop the spread of an infection. Otherwise, the bacteria could fan out to other parts of your body.

The Warning Signs of an Abscessed Tooth

In addition to intense pain, here are some of the other possible symptoms of an abscessed tooth:

  • Fever
  • Bad breath
  • Swollen, red gums
  • Foul taste in the mouth
  • Discolored or loose tooth
  • Facial redness and swelling
  • Pain that gets worse as you lie down
  • Increased pain from chewing or biting

At the first notice of any of these issues, you shouldn’t hesitate to seek treatment from an emergency dentist.

How Your Oral Health Can be Restored

Before treating your abscessed tooth, a dentist will first take X-ray photos to locate where the infection is and to determine whether it has spread to other areas. Here are some of the treatment options:

Draining the Abscess

The dentist will make a small incision and drain the pus. Then, he or she will clean the area thoroughly using a saline solution.

Root Canal Therapy

The root canal process involves the dentist drilling a hole into the affected tooth to gain access to the decayed tissue in its core. After cleaning the area, he or she will fill it with a compound called gutta-percha, seal the pulp chamber and cap your tooth with a replacement crown.

Tooth Extraction

If the damage is too acute to save your tooth, the only other option is to have it extracted. The abscess can either be drained before the tooth is pulled or afterwards.


If the X-ray images show that the infection has spread beyond the abscessed area, or you have a weakened immune system, the dentist might prescribe oral antibiotics.

While an abscessed tooth is one of the last things you want to deal with, it’s comforting to know that with the expert care from an emergency dentist and swift action, you can get the relief you need.

About the Author

Dr. Hube Parker is a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry. He has since gone on to amass over 25 years of experience in private practice. Additionally, Dr. Parker serves as a part-time instructor at the UMC School of Dentistry in the Department of Endodontics (root canals). He treats abscessed teeth and other forms of dental trauma at Parker Dental & Orthodontics, and he can be reached for more information through his website.

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