What to Do if You Think You Have an Abscess

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If you have some swelling around a particular tooth, it is quite possible that you have an abscess. This is not something that can be left untreated and is likely to lead to a significant amount of pain and discomfort otherwise. While you plan to make a visit to the dentist, what can you do to help with the suffering in the meantime?

What Causes It?

An abscess is the result of pus building up beneath the skin's surface. The pus buildup is an attempt by the body to get rid of an infection, but the unfortunate byproduct is an increase in nerve pressure, which leads to the pain. If you have had one of these issues before, you may remember that the pain tends to decrease as time goes by. Don't be fooled by this, however, as this is simply the result of the nerve dying away, rather than any clearing of the infection. Worse may be to come, as the infection will spread and could cause a whole host of additional complications elsewhere in the body. Don't leave this happen, and get to the dentist as soon as you can.

Unfortunately, an abscess is normally caused when your dental hygiene is not up to par. For example, a tiny cavity may have formed and have been left without treatment. The bacteria that's constantly in your mouth will be able to get into the tooth. This will, in turn, lead to infection and the resulting abscess.

What Symptoms Should I Expect?

You may also notice a low-grade fever as one of the unpleasant side-effects associated with an abscess. You may get some drainage from the area as well, which can lead to a poor taste in the mouth. It's not unusual to find sensitivity to either cold or hot drinks.

What Can I Expect in the Dentist's Chair?

The dentist will begin by examining your mouth to determine the course of action, dependent on how the abscess has developed. Often, a course of antibiotics is prescribed to help clear up any infection. The inflamed area may be irrigated, which can alleviate any pressure on surrounding nerves in the meantime. Down the road, you may have to schedule a root canal, which will get rid of the nerves under the tooth.

What Can I Do Right Now?

As you are waiting for your visit to the dentist try and gargle gently with lukewarm water, to which you should add a couple of pinches of salt. Alternatively, create a mixture of tea tree oil and hydrogen peroxide, but don't swallow this mixture. Your local chemist may be able to give you some anti-inflammatory pills to get rid of the worst of the conditions.