Gums often swell when a tooth is abscessed because the decay has reached into the pulp or soft core of the tooth. When this happens, it exposes the roots and nerves, which leads to swelling. The following information gives you further details about why abscesses swell and why they must be treated immediately.
Abscess Causes and Swelling
Most abscesses form when a tooth becomes infected. The infection results from staphylococcal bacteria. When bacteria enter the body, the immune system fights back by sending an army of white blood cells to fight off the invaders (or infection). When this happens, the inflamed site starts to swell, which leads to the death of adjacent tissue. To reduce the swelling and pain, we recommend that patients place a cold pack or ice on their cheek, next to the site, for about 20 minutes. To make things more comfortable, place a thin cloth between the skin and the ice. You should also take pain medications and antibiotics, exactly as directed.
What are the First Signs You May Have an Abscess?
You will usually notice a smooth swollen area at the site that may feel firm or hard. Pain and tenderness follow, as well as a build-up, in many cases, of pus. If you notice anything dentally unusual, you need to contact us immediately. We can clean out the infection and save the tooth with root canal surgery. In an attempt to preserve the tooth, we will normally follow by capping it with a crown.
Whether you have an abscess or not, you need to see us regularly. Don't wait until you have this type of condition to pay a visit to our office. Schedule a check-up today to ensure your dental health now and in the future.