Dental Abscess: Immediate Dental Care for Emergencies

If you have a dental abscess, you’re probably in a lot of pain. Inversely, if you’re in a lot of pain right now, it’s highly possible you may have a dental abscess.

If you need an emergency dentist, call our emergency phone line at 402-840-9783.

What is an abscess?

Dental abscesses are one of the most common reasons patients seek out emergency dental care. They cause sudden and severe pain in the jaw, gums, and face, and often leave your mouth swollen. However, in spite of the pain abscesses can occur anywhere in a person’s body. They’re a part of your body’s natural response to infection. Dead cells form as your immune system tries to fight the infection, causing a buildup of pus. This pus keeps the infection from spreading, but also causes pain and swelling as a result of the infection.


Woman with a dental abscess in Lincoln, NE

Although abscesses are technically a body’s response to keep you alive and healthy, they’ll continue to grow if untreated and can eventually burst. If this happens, it will temporarily relieve the pain, but allow the infection to spread rapidly. Long standing or excessive abscesses can be life threating and should be addressed quickly to prevent serious health complications.

In your teeth, abscesses form when a cavity spreads to a tooth’s root, allowing the infection to reach the nerve, or pulp, underneath.


Types of Dental Abscesses

There are three types of dental abscesses:

Gingival Abscesses form on gum tissue as a result of poor gum health. It’s sometimes called a peripheral abscess since it doesn’t touch a tooth’s bone structure.

Periodontal Abscesses happen as a result of severely infected teeth. These are often signified by loosened gums and teeth as a consequence of untreated periodontal disease.

Periapical Abscesses are the most dangerous of the three types since they occur at a tooth’s pulp. At this point, the tooth is in danger and may need to be extracted or treated with root canal therapy.


Watch the “Tips for a Severe Toothache (At Home)” Video


woman in Lincoln, NE holding toothache because of dental abcess

Symptoms of a Dental Abscess

The primary symptom of an abscess is severe pain. However, there are a few other reported symptoms:

– Spread out pain
– Fever
– Putrid breath
– Swollen jaw, cheeks, and/or neck glands
– Extra red gums
– Bubble/Sore near gums

Treatment of an Abscess

If you’re in severe pain, it’s quite possible you may have a dental abscess. If you’re experiencing a lot of pain, you probably want to get to an emergency dentist as soon as you’re able. But if the pain isn’t enough to convince you, you can leave it to us.

It’s crucial that you see your emergency dentist as soon as possible if you have a dental abscess. If you leave your abscess untreated for too long, the tooth may need to be extracted. Even worse, if the infection in your tooth spreads, it can cause serious complications to your overall health. Because of this, early treatment of a dental abscess is essential.

If an abscess is left untreated, the pain will sometimes go away over time. While this may make it seem like it’s getting better, it actually means that the worst is yet to come. It usually means that an abscess has burst on its own, allowing the infection to spread freely.

Dr. Kathryn explaining dental abscess to patient in Lincoln NE

Treatment of an abscess can vary depending upon a few different factors, including what kind of abscess you have. If your abscess is on the surface, your emergency dentist will drain it immediately and use antibiotics to treat the infection. If it’s a periodontal abscess, however, your dentist may prescribe a deep cleaning, which is a common treatment for periodontal disease. As for any dental related abscess, antibiotics alone will not be able to fight the infection. In addition to prescribing antibiotics, your dentist will diagnose the core problem and treat it.


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