Diagnosing, Treating and Avoiding an Abscessed Tooth

By: Staff
Studies show that up to seven out of 10 Canadians will suffer from gum disease at some point in their lives. Preventing it takes maintenance and effort, but it will be worth it to avoid the agony of an abscessed tooth. 
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  1. Tooth Abscess: A Painful Infection

An infection at the root of the tooth is known as an abscess. Abscesses have a variety of causes, including gum disease or damaged teeth. They usually cause severe pain and swelling in the mouth, which makes them hard to ignore. 

Common symptoms include:

  • Pain when eating.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Increased sensitivity to temperature or pressure.
  • An open sore on the gums near the infected area.
  • Swelling of the jaw.
  • Unpleasant breath or taste in the mouth.
  1. Abscess Tooth Treatment: Important Factors

The first step toward treatment is diagnosis. Your dentist will usually do a visual assessment and ask you some questions to determine your level of pain. If the infection looks severe, x-rays might be required to get a better look at what’s happening with the surrounding jaw bone. 

Depending on the severity of the infection, drainage might be required. This will probably mean getting a root canal to remove the infected root, but in minor cases, the dentist might choose to drain the infection by creating a small incision in the gums. Either way, you’ll need to take a round of antibiotics to ensure your body has adequate help in fighting the infection. 

Prescription pain medications are sometimes recommended, but you can also deal with the pain using an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen. 

  1. The Severe Dangers of an Abscessed Tooth

When the surface of the tooth has openings, bacteria can get in and infect the inner part of the tooth or even spread to the surrounding tissues. If the infection isn’t treated promptly, it can spread down into other parts of your neck and jaw. It can even cause sepsis, a life-threatening blood infection. 

In a worst-case-scenario, an abscess can lead to abscesses of the brain, which will require surgery to drain the infected area and provide relief from pressure. 

  1. Natural Prevention Methods: Avoiding an Abscessed Tooth

The best thing you can do to avoid an abscessed tooth is get regular dental checkups and follow the advice your dentist provides about caring for your teeth. Statistics show that 12 percent of Canadians reported difficulty eating certain foods due to ongoing pain in the mouth. You might think that it’s normal to suffer from dental pain, but it could be a sign of problems down the road. Pain is a signal from your body that something is wrong. Visiting a dentist sooner rather than later will help you get the problem under control. 

While they aren’t a replacement for dental visits, there are a few safe and natural methods you can utilize, including brushing and flossing regularly, using a water pick to carefully clean around the gum line, rinsing with warm salt water and doing an ancient practice called oil pulling, which involves swishing oil like mouthwash to gently massage and stimulate the gums. 

If you’re ready to schedule an appointment for a dental checkup or need help with an abscessed tooth, please check out our list of dental professionals who can help.


This article, and the products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please see your health care provider before taking any supplements or starting a new program.

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