Oral Abscesses and Infections

An oral abscess is a small pocket of bacterial infection that can appear in the gum tissue (a gingival abscess), in your jawbone (a periodontal abscess), or in your tooth root (a periapical abscess). Of the three types of abscess, tooth root infections are the most common.

Oral abscesses can cause pain, foul tastes in the mouth, sensitivity to hot and cold, and fever. Sometimes you’ll find a pus-filled bump on your gum line. You are particularly at risk of an oral abscess if you have deep periodontal pockets or severe tooth decay.

If you have symptoms of an abscess you should treat it as a dental emergency, and seek help immediately.  If you live near Seattle or Everett, WA, you can contact Pure Dental Arts for emergency dental care.

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Or you can read on to learn more. 

How dangerous is an oral abscess?

Oral abscesses can be deadly if left untreated. Advanced swelling can cut off your airflow. The bacteria can get into your bloodstream, a condition called sepsis, or septic shock. Even after treatment, sepsis can have long-term effects like chronic pain, chronic fatigue, organ dysfunctions, and amputations. It can get into your brain, where it will cause additional abscesses. Those can be fatal as well.

Even if you don’t develop a life-threatening condition, the infection can spread, threatening more of your jaw bones and putting you at risk of losing teeth.

The number of hospitalizations and deaths from this treatable condition are on the rise, in part because too many people don’t go to dentist quickly enough.

Abscesses do not go away on their own and cannot be treated with over-the-counter medications. If you’re experiencing tooth pain, fever, or swelling you should see a dentist right away.

How to treat an oral abscess?

It depends on the type of abscess. If you have a gingival or periodontal abscess, the dentist must first drain the pus out of the affected area. You may require scaling and root planing, which will give you a deep clean beneath the gumline.

From there, typically we will give you an antibiotic to continue killing off the infection.

If you have a periapical abscess, the only real treatment is a root canal. That procedure isn’t as scary as it may sound. Many people associate root canals with anguish, but they are fairly painless.  During a root canal, your dentist scrapes all the diseased tissue out of your tooth root, disinfects the remaining space, and fills it with a stabilizing substance known as gutta percha.

If you’re nervous about receiving treatment for your oral abscess, we also offer sedation dentistry.

You can help prevent abcesses by practicing good oral hygiene and by seeing your dentist at least once a year. 

How much does it cost to treat an oral abscess?

It can cost $900 to $1500 to treat an oral abscess. Of course, that constitutes an zzemergency treatment, so if you have dental insurance your plan probably will cover it.

Even if you don’t have dental insurance, please don’t delay seeing us because of monetary fears.  Our in-house Membership Plans can save you 20% to 50% on dental services. Remember: an oral infection condition can cause long-term complications (and can be fatal).

We’ll work with you to resolve the monetary concern later.  Get treatment first.