At Encino Dentist, we are continually changing people's perspectives about dental health; we strive to eliminate the fear of visiting dentists by providing a friendly environment for our patients. Situated in Encino, we are a dentistry practice equipped to provide quality dental options for our patients. We offer a wide array of services for patients across all age groups. Our emergency dentists work even on holidays and weekends, ensuring our patients can access dental emergency assistance beyond official open hours.

Have you been experiencing intense toothaches or pain around your gum? Have you noticed pus accumulating around the area where the pain is originating? If you have any of these symptoms, it could mean that you have a dental abscess. Visit your dentist promptly to get a diagnosis and get treated. Meanwhile, this article will help you understand better about dental abscesses. If you notice these symptoms during a weekend, holiday, or late hours of the night, you can consult an emergency dentist to receive prompt medical care.

What is a Dental Abscess?

A dental abscess (tooth abscess) occurs when a tooth becomes infected around the root, or the gum becomes infected. It is a collection of pus, dead tissues, and white blood cells developing around the infected area. Even though the mouth cavity has plenty of bacteria, not all are harmless. Maintaining good oral hygiene helps curb the growth of harmful disease-causing bacteria. A dental abscess is a bacterial infection. The body will fight the bacterial infection by using white blood cells and producing pus; hence white blood cells accumulate with some dead bacteria and the pus.

The abscess may develop in the tooth, the gums, or the bone holding the tooth in position. Usually, a dental abscess affects one tooth then spreads to other teeth when not treated on time. They require professional dental care since they cannot heal on their own. Even if your dental abscess bursts on its own, you should still see your dentist get the area cleaned and treated. If you have a dental abscess, reach out to your dentist as soon as possible because they can spread to other parts of your body.

Tooth Abscess as a Dental Emergency

Dental emergencies are generally any dental issue(s) that require prompt medical attention to alleviate severe pain, save a tooth, or stop bleeding. A Dental abscess qualifies as a dental emergency since if not treated as soon as they are discovered, they bring about serious medical issues that can be life-threatening.

Types of Dental Abscesses

The three most common types of dental abscesses, depending on where it occurs are:

Periapical Abscess

This type affects the tip of your tooth roots. it may advance to the pulp or to the gum.

Periodontal Abscess

This dental abscess occurs on your gum next to the root of a tooth. It can also spread to the surrounding tissues.

Gingival Abscess

This is a dental abscess occurring on the gums.

Common Causes

  1. Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is the rotting away of teeth that begins at the enamel (hard white part of your tooth). As the decay advances, it creates cavities in your tooth that grow deeper if not treated and eat away deeper into tooth tissues, eventually reaching the gum. Abscesses develop when the decay reaches the pulp of the tooth.

  1. Tooth Injury

Tooth injuries usually lead to openings where bacteria can hide and grow. Tooth injuries include tooth cracks, exposed roots, cavities running deep, and a broken or chipped tooth. For the minor tooth injuries, most patients do not think that it can be a significant issue until they feel intense pain days or weeks later. By then, bacteria have found their way into the tooth through the cracks and caused an abscess.

  1. Gum Diseases

A dental abscess is caused by the same bacterial species that cause gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. When gum diseases become severe, the infection can find its way to the exposed tooth root. Therefore if you are experiencing gum disease, you should visit your dentist before it causes an abscess.

  1. Post Dental Treatment Complications

Your tooth may get an infection after dental surgery, removal of a tooth, or a tooth filling. Exposure of the inner parts of your tooth or gum during any dental procedures may leave a wound; it becomes an entry point for bacteria hence leading to the development of an infection in a tooth or the gum.

  1. Poor Oral Hygiene

Failure to brush or floss your teeth after every meal or at least twice a day, a sticky film builds upon them (plaque); it will harbor harmful bacteria. These bacteria produce acids that bring about the decay of teeth and the formation of dental abscesses.

  1. Consuming too Much Sugary or Starchy Food

Consumption of sugary foods or starchy foods provides a nutrition-rich medium for abscess-causing bacteria to grow. If you already have an abscess, these foods can accelerate bacteria growth leading to the spread of the infection to the gum's other teeth.

  1. Weakened Immune System

If you have underlying health conditions, you are prone to infections due to your weakened immune system. Health conditions such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, or some treatments such as chemotherapy and steroid medication make your immune system weak; hence you are at a higher risk of getting a dental abscess.

Symptoms that Indicate You have a Dental Abscess

  • You may notice bad oral breath even after cleaning your teeth.
  • Intense pain in the affected area, be it your tooth or gum, often characterized by sharp throbbing sensations. The pain may stop after a certain period; it stops due to the destruction of your nerves by the growing infection. Immediate medical attention is needed at this point; the infection will lead to fatal medical complications.
  • Bad or bitter taste in the mouth may also be a sign of an abscess. The bad taste can be due to the abscess bursting, spreading the pus in your mouth.
  • You may notice you have swollen gums that may ooze with pus.
  • Your lymph nodes around the neck and jaw may swell.
  • The abscess may lead to frequent headaches.
  • You may experience some tooth sensitivity when you take cold or hot food or beverages.
  • You may feel pain when chewing, especially if the food comes into contact with the affected area.

Treatment Options for a Dental Abscess

The treatment your emergency dentist will recommend will be influenced by the severity of the dental abscess. If the infection is treated fast after it develops, less comprehensive treatment can be administered. However, if it has spread and caused far-reaching complications, then a combination of treatments will be applied. Before your dentist recommends a treatment option, he/she may start with a dental x-ray. It will help him/her know whether the infection has spread to other areas of your mouth. C on the severity or type of dental abscess, treatment options are:


The use of antibiotics is the most common method of treating an abscess; they kill the abscess-causing bacteria and enhance fast healing. Antibiotics heal the abscess within five days after administration, while the symptoms are alleviated as fast as two days from the start of the treatment. It is often combined with other treatment options to facilitate healing and painkillers to alleviate pain. Also, if you have a weakened immune system, your dentist may recommend you take antibiotics.

Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment involves the extraction of the infected pulp and draining of the abscess, followed by filling up the pulp chamber and the root canal; after filling, the pulp chamber is sealed. Your tooth is then capped with a crown to help strengthen it. Your dentist may also recommend surgery to remove dead root canal tissues after the infection clears up.

The incision to Drain the Abscess

All the pus that has built-up around the infected area has to be drained to facilitate healing. If the abscess does not burst and drain on its own, then your dentist will make a small incision and drain the abscess. The area infected is then cleaned with a saline solution. The antibiotics will then help heal the wound left behind.

Extraction of Infected Tooth

If the abscess has destroyed your tooth to the extent that it cannot be restored, it will have to be extracted. Removing the infected tooth prevents the spread of the abscess and promotes healing. After the removal of the tooth, your dentist will drain the abscess. It is followed up by curettage (employing scraping or scooping) to remove any remaining infected tissues; the wound is cleaned and left to heal.


If your abscess has advanced to other areas such as the jaw or neck, you may require surgical procedures to drain it. Additionally, surgery may be done if the abscess fails to heal and enlarges after a root canal treatment.

Cost of Treatment

Costs of dental abscess treatment are usually unpredictable because different patients have different types and levels of abscess infection hence requiring different treatments or procedures. If you have dental insurance coverage, some of the costs will be catered to you. The variability of the cost changes depending on: the type and severity of the abscess, the type, complexity, and length of required treatment, type of dentist needed, your age and health condition, and whether or not you will need an operating room or hospital emergency room. Contact us for more information about the pricing at Encino Dentists.

Ways to Relieve Pain Caused by a Dental Abscess

If you are experiencing a mild or intensely painful abscess, it is advisable to seek medical care from your dentist as soon as you can. Remember that dental abscesses do not heal without treatment but worsen if you go for a prolonged period without seeking medical attention. There are several ways in which you can reduce the pain until you can reach your dentist.

Warm salty water rinses help soothe the pain. Periodically Swishing warm salty water in your mouth enhances the draining of the built-up pus. It also promotes healing and reduces the growth or spread of the infection. You can also apply ice to the affected to reduce discomfort.

Another alternative is buying over- the -counter pain relieving medicine. Anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, will help alleviate pain and discomfort. However, it is not advisable to apply aspirin directly to the infected area since it burns the gum or cheek. Ensure you have followed this up with a visit to your dentist for professional assistance.

How to Prevent Dental Abscesses

As is often said, prevention is better than cure. If you observe some simple oral hygiene habits, it can save you pain and money that could otherwise be used to treat dental abscesses. It will also help you have more productive days and comfortable nights free of tooth sensitivity or toothaches.

Regular Dental Check-ups

It is quite helpful to frequent your visits to your dentist. Regular dental check-ups help any problems with your oral health get spotted and treated fast before they advance.  After every six months, it is advisable to get a dental check-up.

Good Oral Hygiene Practices

Brush your teeth twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste; brushing should take around two minutes each time. Use dental floss or your toothbrush to remove any food particles that may be stuck between your teeth. Gently brush your tongue, gum, and inner cheeks since food particles may be stuck on their surface.

Avoiding Sugary Food and Drinks

Cut down your intake of sugary foods and drinks, especially before going to bed; they offer a suitable media for the growth of bacteria. Overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth leads to infections.

Wearing Mouth Guards

You should wear mouth-guards if you are going to engage in activities that may lead to you getting injuries to your teeth. It will save you from the pain of losing a tooth, getting a chipped or broken tooth, consequently saving you from getting abscesses.

Find an Emergency Dentist Near Me

Encino Dentist offers professional and satisfying dental health care solutions for our clients. We have a team of ethical dental health experts who will recommend suitable procedures and treatment for any of your dental problems without exaggeration. Our emergency dentists are available 24/7 365 days to cater for your dental emergencies. If you are a resident of Encino and the surrounding areas, reach out to us to get our dental health care services. Contact us at 818-650-0429.