Reviewed by Dr. J. Travis Thompson, DDS

Dealing with an abscessed tooth can be a real pain in the mouth! You might be tempted to get rid of the tooth to ease the discomfort, but that could lead to some hidden complications you may not expect.

In this blog post, we will discuss the dangers of pulling an abscessed tooth and why it’s important to understand the risks before making any decisions.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

An abscessed tooth is a severe dental condition that demands immediate attention and proper treatment. Although removing the affected tooth may appear to be a simple solution, it involves potential risks and consequences that need careful consideration. Seek advice from an oral surgeon for the best outcome and to prevent further complications.

What Does an Abscessed Tooth Look Like?

An abscessed tooth is an infection within the tooth that has spread to the root tip or around the root. This bacterial infection originates from the tooth’s inner chamber, or the pulp chamber, which houses the tooth’s nerve and blood supply. The infection can result from severe tooth decay, injury to the tooth, or previous dental work. The abscess is a defensive body response that creates a pocket of pus to localize the infection.

The symptoms of a tooth abscess can vary depending on the severity and location of the infection but generally include:

  • Constant, severe toothache that radiates to the neck, jawbone, or ear
  • Sensitive to hot and cold temperatures
  • Sensitive to the pressure of biting and chewing
  • Swelling in your cheek or face
  • Fever
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes under your jaw or in your neck
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing (if the infection is severe)

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seeking immediate dental care is essential.

What Are the Risks of Extracting an Abscessed Tooth?

A tooth extraction should only be considered a last resort when faced with a dental abscess. Pulling an infected tooth can lead to serious consequences.

1. Impact Neighboring Teeth

The gap created by a missing tooth can cause the neighboring teeth to shift and tilt, leading to misalignment issues. Shifting teeth can result in difficulty chewing, jaw pain, and even further tooth loss.

2. Increase Risk of Gum Disease

When a tooth is pulled out, it leaves an empty socket in the gum. An empty socket can become a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to various dental and oral health issues. The risk of infection in the area increases, and it can even trigger gum disease in people who have never had it before.

3. Loss of Bone Structure and Bone Shrinkage

Tooth roots stimulate and preserve the bone structure in your jaw. Without a tooth root, the underlying bone can shrink over time, leading to facial changes and a weakened jawbone, making it challenging to support dentures or dental implants.

4. Open Pathways to the Maxillary Sinus

The upper back teeth are located close to the maxillary sinus, and when a tooth is extracted, it can create an opening between the mouth and sinus. This open pathway can result in infection of the sinus and cause chronic sinusitis. Infections in this area can be challenging to treat and may require surgery.

Treating an Abscessed Tooth

Treating a dental abscess involves eliminating the infection and preserving as much of the natural tooth and surrounding bone structure as possible. The appropriate treatment can vary depending on the extent of the infection and the tooth’s condition. Common treatment options include:

  1. Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be prescribed to fight and stop the infection from spreading. They are not a cure, but a temporary measure until the definitive treatment can be performed.
  2. Abscess drainage: In severe cases where there is significant swelling and pus formation, a surgical procedure to incise and drain the abscess might be necessary to relieve pressure and begin the process of infection control.
  3. Root canal treatment: A root canal is often the preferred treatment for saving an abscessed tooth. The procedure involves removing the infected pulp from the tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the inner chambers, and then filling and sealing them. A dental crown might be necessary to protect the tooth from future damage.
  4. Tooth extraction: If all other treatment options have been exhausted, extraction may be necessary to remove the infection entirely.

See an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon for Your Abscessed Tooth

Consulting with an oral & maxillofacial surgeon for an abscessed tooth doesn’t just address the immediate issue at hand. It also helps in the strategic planning for long-term oral health and prevents potential complications associated with tooth infections.

Visiting an oral & maxillofacial surgeon for an abscessed tooth has many benefits:

  • These specialists possess extensive training in diagnosing and treating dental infections and are skilled in procedures ranging from simple extractions to complex surgical interventions.
  • They can offer more advanced treatment options not available in regular dental practice, including precise surgical drainage and managing severe infections.
  • An oral & maxillofacial surgeon understands the complexities of facial anatomy and is equipped to handle complications that may arise from tooth infections, including those affecting the jawbone and surrounding facial tissues.
  • Oral surgeons can provide sedation and anesthesia options for patients anxious about dental procedures to ensure a comfortable and pain-free treatment experience.

Oral Facial & Implant Specialists: Your Oral Surgeon in Deer Park, IL

An abscessed tooth is a severe dental condition that requires immediate treatment. While extraction may seem like a quick fix, it can have significant risks that can affect your oral health in the long term.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of an abscessed tooth, Oral Facial & Implant Specialists can help. Our experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeons, Dr. Thompson and Dr. Martin, are committed to providing the highest standard of care for all your dental needs. We offer comprehensive services ranging from routine extractions to complex surgical procedures in a comfortable and welcoming environment.

Don’t wait until pain dictates your decision. If you are searching for an ‘oral surgeon in Lake County, IL’ or ‘abscess tooth treatment near me,’ contact Oral Facial & Implant Specialists to schedule a consultation. Call (847) 381-0106 or complete the online booking form.

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