A tooth abscess can happen when a tooth has decayed, chipped or broken. This can allow bacteria to enter the inner part of the tooth which can lead to infection. The infection may cause a buildup of fluid and swelling, resulting in an abscess. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other areas of the mouth such as the gums and jaw bone. If you’re experiencing a toothache and wondering if you may have an abscess, as well as what to do if you have an abscess, here are some things you should know.

How to Know if You Have an Abscess

The only way to know for sure if you have a tooth abscess is to be seen by a dentist, but some symptoms you may experience are fever, swelling in the mouth or face, sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures or while chewing, severe and persistent tooth pain that may spread to other parts of your face, jaw, neck or ear, difficulty swallowing or breathing and a sudden unpleasant taste in your mouth if the abscess bursts. These are all serious symptoms that you should call a dentist about immediately if they occur.

In addition to seeing a dentist, there are some things you can do that may help relieve your symptoms.

Use a Salt Water Rinse

Salt water has natural healing and antiseptic properties and many dentists recommend using a salt water rinse regularly after oral surgery or dental procedures to aid in healing and help prevent infection. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to a glass of warm water and use to rinse repeatedly until the mixture is used up. Take care not to swallow it.

Apply a Cold Compress

If you’re still wondering “what to do if you have an abscess” one quick remedy if you’re experiencing discomfort is to use a cold compress. This easily accessible remedy can help you be more comfortable with very little effort. If your cold compress is ice or something frozen, make sure to wrap it in a towel and only use it for up to 20 minutes at a time to protect your nerves from extra discomfort or damage from direct contact with extreme cold.

See a Dentist as Soon as Possible

A dental abscess is a serious condition requiring immediate professional care. These home remedies may provide temporary relief, but if you’re experiencing any symptoms that you believe may point to an abscess, it’s important to call your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist can perform an exam to determine the cause of your symptoms and help you determine the best course of action and decide on a treatment for whatever dental needs you are facing.

Call our Imperial Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.