Treating A Dental Abscess

A dental abscess can be not only very painful, but also dangerous for your health if left untreated

gum disease checksHaving a dental abscess can be a very painful experience, and one that will usually send even the most nervous patients to the phone to make an appointment to see a dentist as soon as they can.

Abscesses can develop over a matter of just a day or two and you may not get much warning before things start to become painful. If you have any pain at all that concerns you, it is best to have it checked out by one of the Blue Sky Dental team as soon as you can.

Abscesses can be caused by a number of factors including poor oral health care, but also when damage has occurred to a tooth, whether that be from decay or a crack in the tooth from a blow to the mouth perhaps. This allows bacteria to enter, and before long, you may experience some significant discomfort.

Types of abscess

There are, generally speaking, two different types of dental abscesses. A periapical abscess is one that forms in the root canals of the teeth. The other is a periodontal abscess which forms in the gums. These will both require different forms of treatment which we will discuss in a moment or two.


There are a number of possible symptoms that you might experience with an abscess, but as mentioned earlier, the window for early warning signs might be quite small, and the most likely symptom you might notice is when you are in a great deal of pain. You may also be very intolerant of hot and cold when you eat and drink, notice a very unpleasant taste in your mouth and even experience a sensation of feeling unwell. It is very important indeed that you don’t ignore these symptoms and seek help by calling us for an emergency appointment at our Chelmsford dental clinic.

Treating dental abscesses

Draining a gum abscess – Where the abscess is located in the gums, this can generally be treated by draining the abscess of pus and then cleaning it. This is done by making a small incision in the abscess (after applying a local anaesthetic) and then draining the pus out. This will then need to be thoroughly cleaned and you may be given a course of antibiotics in some cases as well. Once this has been done, we will need to determine the cause of it. In some cases, simply improving your oral health regime may prevent the abscess from recurring. In some instances though, further action may need to be taken.

Deep cleaning – In some cases, pockets of pus may have developed around the roots of the tooth and surrounding tissues. This is likely to be a consequence of periodontal disease. In this case, it is likely that a procedure known as a deep clean or root scaling will need to be carried out. This is an invasive treatment that can mean cutting into the gums in order to access the roots of the teeth so that they can be cleaned. The outcome of this procedure is less predictable than many treatments though and it may not prove enough to save the tooth. This type of abscess is largely preventable however, as long as you brush and floss your teeth well and see our hygienist to have the teeth and gum line professionally cleaned approximately every six months.

Root canal treatment – When an abscess is located not in the gums, but within the roots of a tooth, the only treatment that can be used to restore the tooth is a root canal procedure. This involves the removal of a top section of the tooth, removal of the infected soft pulp material, including the abscess, cleaning of the hollow root canals before filling with a special material called Gutta Percha. In the majority of cases, this treatment will be completed by adding a crown to the restored tooth in order to strengthen it and give it a more natural appearance.

Extractions – While we will always do whatever we possibly can to save a tooth, there are times when this may not be possible, or where the prognosis is so poor that we might recommend its extraction. If this does happen, we have a range of tooth replacement options, including dentures and dental implants, that we will be happy to discuss with you.

Dangers to health

Even though it is unlikely that you would be able to withstand the pain that dental abscesses often inflict, there is another reason why you should have them treated as a matter of urgency. If a tooth or gum abscess is left untreated, the infection can spread beyond the oral cavity and start to infect the rest of your body. This could result in you becoming very unwell and it can even, in a few instances, be life threatening. You should never ignore a dental abscess and always contact our Chelmsford dentist straightaway if you suspect you might have one.

For an appointment to see a dentist, whether about an abscess or any other oral health issue, please call Blue Sky Dental on 01245 211070 and talk to one of our helpful reception team.

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