Ouch! Is an Abscess Causing Your Toothache?

Abscessed tooth pain in Polk City, IADr. Ryan Hussong, who treats tooth pain in Polk City, IA, says that abscesses are among the most common causes of toothaches. An abscess, or infection, takes hold near the root of your tooth, or in the space between your teeth and gums. Advanced tooth decay is usually the culprit behind an abscess, but Dr. Hussong will perform an examination to determine whether another oral health issue is to blame.

Dental trauma, such as an injury sustained while playing sports or in an auto accident, can also lead to an abscessed tooth. Gingivitis, the earliest stage of periodontal disease, has also been linked to abscesses. The problem begins when small holes or worn-down areas form in the enamel that covers and protects each tooth. This exposes the middle layer of the tooth, called dentin, and the pulp, which is located deep in the center of each tooth. When these openings form, an infection can penetrate the tooth. Without treatment, the infection spreads from the tooth root to the bone and tissue holding it in place in your jaw.

Is an Abscess Causing My Tooth Pain?

Most patients who have an abscess report a toothache that persists over several days and does not ease up throughout the day. The pain may be a dull, throbbing sensation, or it could be a gnawing, stabbing pain. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have an abscessed tooth:

  • Painful chewing
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Swelling in your neck or near your jaw
  • A bad taste or foul odor in your mouth
  • Fever
  • An open sore on the side of your gums that drains

What Happens Next?

If the pain goes away, this may mean that the root of your tooth has died. It’s good that you no longer feel discomfort, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that your infection has healed. It’s possible that the infection is still active, in which case it will ravage the connective tissues within your mouth. It’s best to contact your Polk City dentist to prevent further damage. When you visit our office, Dr. Hussong will perform a visual examination of the affected tooth. Using his dental tool, he will gently probe the affected area to look for signs of decay or infection. You will answer questions about whether the pain comes and goes, varies in intensity, or is more sensitive to some foods than others. An x-ray may be needed to confirm the diagnosis of an abscessed tooth.

What Treatment Options Are Available?

Our foremost goal is to address infection, which can involve draining the abscess. Dr. Hussong may recommend root canal therapy to eliminate traces of infection, followed by placement of a crown over the tooth to restore its function and create a natural appearance. If your tooth has become non-vital, or dead, an extraction could be your best option. If so, we can replace your tooth with dental implants, dentures, or a bridge.

An abscess requires timely treatment. To learn more about treating abscessed teeth, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ryan Hussong, contact Cornerstone Dental Group at (515) 984-6001. We welcome patients living in Ankeny, Grimes, Ames, Alleman, Polk City, and the surrounding areas.