More than 40% of American adults experience tooth pain each year. Toothaches are very common, but when your mouth hurts, it’s not always easy to identify the cause.

If you have mild tooth pain or sensitivity, you can usually wait a few days for a regular dental appointment, but other types of pain may be dental emergencies. A dental emergency necessitates immediate care — and one of the most common is a tooth abscess.

If you’re suffering from tooth pain, J. Paul Fuentes, DDS, DABP, Andrew Peterson, DMD, MS, and our team at Arcadia Perio can help. We specialize in periodontal care to treat infections and relieve pain.

Here’s how to know if you have an abscess and what to do about it.

Identifying the symptoms of a tooth abscess

An abscess is a pocket of infected pus at the base or side of your tooth. Abscesses form when bacteria gets inside your tooth, usually due to untreated decay or periodontal disease. The bacteria multiply, causing inflammation, swelling, and infection.

Abscessed teeth are very painful. The pain from an abscess differs from other types of tooth pain in a few ways. It’s generally more severe and persistent. If you have an abscess, you may notice symptoms like:

  • Severe toothache
  • Throbbing, constant pain
  • Pain that spreads to your jaw, neck, or ear
  • Pain with hot and cold temperatures
  • Pain with biting or chewing

Along with pain, abscesses can cause other symptoms, including:

  • Fever
  • Foul odor in your mouth 
  • Swelling in your face or neck
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes in your jaw or neck

Severe swelling can interfere with your ability to swallow or breathe. If the abscess bursts, you may experience a rush of foul, salty fluid in your mouth, followed by pain relief.

What to do about a tooth abscess

No matter the severity of your tooth pain, don’t ignore it. Schedule a regular dentist appointment for mild pain. Schedule an emergency appointment if you think you have a tooth abscess.

Abscess pain is so intense that it may be impossible to wait even a day for an appointment. If you have severe symptoms or difficulty breathing and you can’t reach a dentist, go to the nearest emergency room.

Dr. Fuentes and Dr. Peterson have experience diagnosing and treating painful abscesses. We evaluate your condition with an oral exam, then drain the abscess to remove the infection. We may extract your tooth or prescribe antibiotics, depending on the severity of your abscess.

It’s important to see a dentist even if the abscess ruptures on its own. Infection could still be present, and we can treat it to help your body start healing faster.

Find relief from tooth pain at Arcadia Perio in Arcadia, California. Contact us online to learn more or call our office at 626-662-1084 for the next available appointment.

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