How is an Abscessed Tooth Diagnosed?

How is an Abscessed Tooth Diagnosed?

Sometimes, the signs and symptoms of an abscessed tooth are so acute and distinct that you could probably diagnose the dental condition yourself. You may experience:

  • A bad taste or smell that cannot be managed with brushing, mints, or mouthwash
  • Spontaneous throbbing or shooting pain, especially at night
  • A bump on the gums that bursts occasionally and then comes back
  • A tooth that is particularly sensitive to hot or cold or biting pressure
  • Discomfort that lingers long after the temperature or pressure has been removed

These symptoms are likely the result of an irreversible infection that must be addressed professionally as soon as possible. Attempting to treat your symptoms at home can be dangerous or ineffective, and it’s impossible to confirm the exact cause of the problem without a clinical and radiographic examination.

It’s also dangerous to ignore your symptoms, as an untreated infection can be harmful or even fatal. An untreated abscess can cause such destruction to the surrounding bone that you run the risk of losing the entire tooth.

In addition to the signs and symptoms that you report, your oral surgeon will visually examine the teeth and gums as well as look for clues on the x-rays that could pinpoint the source of the infection.

On an x-ray, an abscess appears as a dark circular area in the bone near the tip of the tooth root. This radiographic sign can occur even when there are no other visible symptoms, though extensive damage may be occurring.

An abscess can affect any tooth, though the wisdom teeth are notorious for becoming infected. These teeth are difficult to care for and even more difficult to repair, thus an abscessed wisdom tooth is generally recommended for extraction. As for the remaining teeth, an abscess may be treated with a root canal procedure, or the tooth may be extracted and replaced with a dental implant.

If you suspect that you have an abscessed tooth, contact the office of Dr. Carlos Ibanez at 434-295-0911 today to set up a dental visit as soon as possible.