A dental abscess is not to be taken lightly. This is a serious infection that can result in pain, loss of tooth or worse. A dental abscess is the worsening of a dental cavity on the inside of the tooth pulp chamber. This area comprises the "meat" of your tooth. A dental abscess can also be the result of trauma to the tooth.
More common, however, is a dental abscess that starts with cavities. When a tooth has a dental cavity, it is open to bacteria and germs. If not filled in a timely manner by a dentist, a pocket of pus develops. Since infection is on the inside of the tooth, the pus has no place to drain, creating a dental abscess.
If a dental abscess goes untreated, the bacteria will thrive on the living tissue inside the tooth, make its way to the gum and further still to the bone. Advanced dental abscesses can kill the root of the tooth -- which will relieve the toothache. But don't be fooled by thinking one of your at-home toothache remedies is working -- this just means the dental abscess has gotten worse!
Look out for the warning signs:
- Toothache -- number one sign that something is amiss
- Red swollen gums
- Throbbing/gnawing pain -- especially when chewing
- Swelling in the jaw or face
- Area is warm to the touch
- Foul taste in mouth
- Bad breath