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Cavities are bad enough, but when they become abscessed they are much, much worse. Once infectious bacteria invades the pulp at the center of a tooth, it doesn’t have to stop there. It can then spread down to the roots, making a pocket of pus at the tip. When this happens it turns into what is called a periapical abscess. This can occur when a cavity goes untreated, an injury to the tooth has occurred, or from previous dental surgery.

An abscess of this type can actually threaten your life if left untreated and the infection is allowed to spread. There are two options your dentist has before things get worse. First, the pus needs to be drained and the hollow cavity cleaned and sterilized. If the tooth can be saved, most likely you will need a root canal operation. The last resort, if the tooth has died, is extraction. While pulling out the tooth is always the least happy of outcomes, your dentist will make sure to cosmetically fix the space with an implant or bridge.

Periapical Abscess Signs and Symptoms:

-An exquisite, throbbing toothache pain that may extend to the jaw and radiate to the ear or neck.

-If the abscess bursts there will be a foul taste in the mouth and sudden relief from pain.

-High fever

-Sensitivity to hot and cold, and whenever there is pressure applied on the tooth from chewing.

-Neck and facial swelling.

-Lymph node swelling.

If you have a cavity, come see Dr. Sterling Whitworth before it becomes an abscess. He will be happy to help you. Please contact Covington Dental Partners to make an appointment at: 770-450-6551, or come by our office in Covington, Georgia.