An infection or abscess can involve any tooth in the mouth. It can occur in a mild form with symptoms that are barely noticeable, or it can present with severe swelling and pain that will require immediate attention. It is important to understand that, while the body may be able to fight off an infection for a short period of time, professional treatment is necessary as soon as possible to prevent complications that are far more serious.
The treatment for an abscessed tooth can vary according to the relative value of the affected tooth. For example, a wisdom tooth abscess is best treated with an extraction since it is not essential to your ability to chew or speak.
Most wisdom teeth are located so far behind the last molar that they cannot fit together with the rest of the teeth. Some wisdom teeth are unable to completely break through the gum tissue and bone, making them non-functional and not useful and dangerous to the health of your neighboring teeth. Others are almost impossible to keep clean, and they instead attract food and plaque that can trigger a long-term infection.
For a short while, an abscess might be controlled through the use of antibiotics. Sometimes a surgical incision and drainage procedure needs to be undertaken to prevent spread of an abscess. Unfortunately this is not a curative treatment. Once the course of antibiotics has been completed, the infection will return once again. For an essential tooth, such as a tooth that is used for chewing or for the support of the neighboring teeth, a root canal treatment and a dental crown is often recommended to fully resolve the problem. However, it isn’t typically wise to attempt to restore a nonfunctioning or poorly positioned wisdom tooth. Instead, the present infection can be resolved and future infections can be prevented by simply having the wisdom tooth removed.
A wisdom tooth abscess isn’t treatable at home, and there is no way to predict the exact moment that the problem will become unbearable. A professional dental examination is necessary for a proper diagnosis of the problem. To schedule yours, contact the wisdom tooth expert, Steven Koos DDS, MD, for an appointment today.