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What is a dental abscess?

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A dental abscess is a collection of puss that can form in the teeth or the gums as a result of a bacterial infection.

How these occur?

Your tooth is made up of a hard white protective layer, the enamel. This covers and protects a soft yellow tissue called dentine.
At the very center of the tooth is the soft pulp where blood vessels and nerves are found.

Your tooth is attached to the jaw by a strong ligament called the periodontal ligament.
Bacteria are found in plaque which is a bind product of food and saliva.

Plaque bacteria produce acid which makes holes in the enamel, that eventually reach the center of the tooth. This is known as dental decay.
The holes aloud bacteria to invade the tooth and to destroy the tooth pulp.

White blood cells then poor into the affected area and puss forms producing a periapical abscess.
This is the most common type of dental abscess.

A periapical abscess is treated with antibiotics and a permanent root filling is then putted at a later date to prevent further infection.
Sometimes, a abscess occurs into the supporting tissues around the teeth. This is called a periodontal abscess.

It is usually associated with the gums disease, when the gums become inflamed and separate from the teeth. In this case, the bacteria collect in pockets around the tooth root.
Periodontal abscesses are treated with antibiotics and by cutting into the gum to drain the puss.

Surgery is sometimes needed at a later date, in order to reshape the gum.
The tooth may also need to be extracted as a result of a dental abscess.

If left untreated, the bacteria from the dental abscess can spread to other areas, including the nearby bone and the spaces behind the cheekbone. Infection can spread to the face, head and neck and can be life threading, but are rare.


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