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Dental Abscess

treating a dental abscess post

How can I treat a dental abscess? Should I see my dentist in Lincoln, NE?

If you have a dental abscess or think you might, you should see your dentist in Lincoln, NE as soon as possible. From there, your dentist will evaluate the area of concern, and if it is an abscess, he or she will determine the proper treatment. Dental abscess treatment ranges from draining the infection, to needing more extensive treatment like a root canal or extraction. Your dentist will likely place you on an antibiotic to keep the infection under control.

Radiographic example of a dental abscess. Our dentist in Lincoln, NE can help you with your dental abscess.


What is a dental abscess?

A dental abscess is your body’s response to an infection and its attempt to contain it. When a tooth becomes infected, an abscess will form. The abscess is a pus-filled pocket that is the body’s way of forming a barrier around the infection to prevent it from spreading to other teeth.

We are here to help you with your dental emergency.

A dental abscess is a common reason patients call with a dental emergency. A dental abscess is an infection that can cause severe discomfort. If you suspect a dental abscess, call your dentist in Lincoln, NE immediately.

Sometimes you are able to pinpoint the exact tooth with the abscess. Other times, the discomfort can be referred into the jaw so it can be difficult to know exactly where it’s coming from. An abscess can be visible to you on the outside, or it can be inside at the root of the tooth.

Image of our family dentist in Lincoln, NE, Dr. Kelly O'Hara.


Are there different types of dental abscess?

Peripheral or gingival abscesses are the ones that most patients notice and call us about. This is because they are on the gingival or gum surrounding the tooth. A peripheral abscess can be either on the cheek side or palate side of a tooth and presents itself as many patients describe, “a bubble” on the gums. Another type of a dental abscess is a periodontal abscess. This is formed when the gums have a bacterial infection or severe inflammation that has caused the gum tissue to pull away from the tooth. When this happens, it forms a pocket between the tooth and the gum that allows bacteria to enter and an abscess to form.

A third common abscess is a periapical abscess. A periapical abscess can form either because the nerve of the tooth died prematurely in the case of an accident, or because of severe decay. When a tooth is traumatized, it can die off and an infection can form.

If decay is allowed to infiltrate into the pulp of the tooth either by a deep cavity, or a tooth that is cracked or broken and has not been treated, the pulp can become infected or an abscess can form. Aside from the discomfort, a patient may not know they have this type of abscess until an x-ray is taken at one of our offices, which will show the abscess on the film.

Image of a happy man who found a dentist in Lincoln, NE to help him with his dental abscess.

What causes a dental abscess?

A dental abscess is caused by an infection in the tooth as a result of an injury, broken / damaged tooth, or decay.  A cavity is the largest contributor to a dental abscess.

In most cases, a dental abscess can be avoided by maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. There are many great dental products on the market to ensure healthy teeth and gums. But, above all, be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss to reach places between your teeth that a toothbrush will miss. In addition to oral hygiene at home, make sure you are visiting your dentist in Lincoln, NE twice a year for a regular cleaning and exam.

No matter how well you clean your teeth at home, there are still hard to reach places and areas where harder plaque, called tartar, builds up. This can only be effectively removed through professional dental cleaning. Visiting our office also means that once a year you will receive x-rays to ensure there is no decay present and we can catch cavities or other problems before they get worse and leave you uncomfortable or miserable.

Image of a happy woman who was relieved to find dental abscess care from a dentist in Lincoln, NE.

What are the symptoms of a dental abscess?

Sometimes you can physically see a dental abscess. Other times, when the abscess cannot be seen, you will feel discomfort. 

When you have an abscess caused by infection, the discomfort can come on suddenly and can be intense. Because there is infection present, your face could swell on the side of the infected tooth. It can be difficult to pinpoint the tooth that is the source of the problem.

Many patients have what we call referred pain, which means that this type of discomfort may travel through your cheek and jaw, sometimes even up to your ear. Through testing and a dental x-ray, one of our doctors will be able to pinpoint the tooth with the abscess so that it can be treated.

What should you do if you think you have an abscess?

An excellent thing to do is to call us immediately. If it is after hours, call the emergency dentist number listed for each office so that you can be seen. Many patients will go to the emergency room, but unfortunately, there is little they can do for you. It is always a good idea to start with your dentist.

Before your appointment, there are a few things you can do to try to relieve any discomfort. Taking an over-the-counter medication and anti inflammatory such as Ibuprofen can help relieve any discomfort temporarily. If there is swelling or discomfort anywhere else in the mouth or jaw area, placing an icepack on your face can give you some comfort as well. If you can see the abscess, it may be tempting to touch it, but do leave it alone, so your dentist can examine it.

Image of a happy woman who found dental abscess care from a dentist in Lincoln, NE.


How is an abscess treated? Our dentist in Lincoln, NE explains…

Treatment for a dental abscess can vary. It can range from draining the infection, to needing more extensive treatment like a root canal or extraction. Whatever treatment your dentist decides is right for you, do also know that you will more than likely be placed on an antibiotic as well.

A peripheral abscess can be drained to relieve the pressure it is causing and help remove the infection. The doctor will place you on an antibiotic and monitor the area to make sure the abscess does not return. Even with a peripheral abscess, your dentist will take an x-ray to make sure there is not any decay present in the tooth.

In the same way, a periodontal abscess will be drained to relieve discomfort and discomfort from pressure. Though the abscess was drained, the pocket still remains and will continue to become infected if not treated further. In addition to antibiotics, your dentist will clean the infection from the pocket and smooth the root of the tooth to help prevent bacteria from attaching to it.

X-ray of teeth showing a root canal. Our dentists in Lincoln, NE can perform gentle, safe root canals.

A periapical abscess will be first diagnosed with an x-ray. This type of abscess is at the root of your tooth and cannot be seen externally.

Treatment for this type of abscess usually involves a root canal. A root canal will clean the infection and decay from the tooth and the infected pulp. The canals of the tooth will be filled with a material called gutta percha.

A filling will then be placed in the tooth. Afterwards, a crown is placed on the tooth to protect it and keep it from breaking. In situations where the tooth is too infected and decayed for a root canal, it must be extracted and a dental implant should be placed.

Image of Dr. Jon Isaacson a dentist in Lincoln, NE at Lincoln Family Dentistry.

This page was written by Lincoln Family Dentistry Provider
Dr. Jon Isaacson.

You can schedule with this dentist in Lincoln, NE, or his partners, online 24/7 at a Lincoln Family Dentistry Location near you. This “dentist near me” serves the local communities close to Lincoln. Some of the communities include Eagle, Walton, Weeping Water, Avoca, and many more!

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We have 7 locations in Lincoln, NE

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Lincoln Family Dentistry – Central Lincoln
South Lincoln Family Dentistry – South Lincoln
Northeast Lincoln Family Dentistry – Northeast Lincoln
Preserve Family Dentistry – East Lincoln
Coddington Dental – West Lincoln
NorthStar Dental – North Lincoln
SouthPointe Dental – Southwest Lincoln
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