Dental Advice for the Sweet Tooth

Hey! I'm Frankie, and welcome to my dental advice blog. I'm a foodie and I love sweet treats, but I also love my teeth! It can be hard to keep your dental health in top condition when you've got a sweet tooth, but it's not impossible. Over the years, I've learned tons of great advice from friends, family members and dentists, and I'd love to share it with you. My blog is here to give you all the tips and tricks you need to stay free of decay and other tooth problems without giving up all your favourite foods and snacks.

Don't Pop It! And Other Things You Need to Know About a Dental Abscess

Dentist Blog

If you're the sort of person who can't resist picking at a pimple or blackhead, then you're not the sort of person who will cope too well with a dental abscess. OK, in all honesty, nobody is really going to cope too well with a dental abscess. They range from being uncomfortable to being painful, and there is also the disconcerting realisation that a rather serious infection has caused the issue.

But just because a dental abscess can bear a striking resemblance to a pimple, it certainly doesn't mean you should try to pop the darn thing! Ideally you will have gotten to your closest dental services provider before the abscess becomes evident, but this might not always to be the case. If you should ever have to manage an abscess yourself before you can get to the dentist, there are a few things you need to know.

Hands Off!

Do not poke or prod at an abscess. This is an unhygienic course of action that can worsen the severity of the underlying infection. It can be tempting. Some abscesses resemble a pimple complete with a white tip, and it can feel logical that one quick squeeze will solve the problem. An abscess can occur when a tooth has become damaged or degraded to the point that its dental pulp (the inner nerve) has been exposed. This allows bacteria to enter what should essentially be a sterile zone. The infection grows, often developing pus, and this pus looks for an exit point. The infection can become painful in a surprisingly short period of time, and while that pus is looking for a way to be expelled, it's unwise to speed up the process.

Get to the Dentist

You will need to see a dentist as soon as possible. Only they should drain the abscess. They will also be likely to prescribe a course of antibiotics to kill the infection around the site. Only once the infection has subsided can they solve the underlying cause of the abscess. This might involve a root canal to remove the damaged dental pulp and patching any cavities that acted as an entry point for bacteria.

Pain Relief

If the abscess worsens at a time when you cannot immediately see a dentist, you will need to take steps to lessen its severity. Over the counter pain medication can be beneficial. Ibuprofen is best, as it has anti-inflammatory agents which can help with the swelling. A warm compress applied to your jaw at the site of the abscess can also bring relief. Even if these steps make you feel much better, do not delay seeing a dentist as the problem is far from solved.

A Self-Popping Abscess

While you shouldn't attempt to pop an abscess, there are times when it can burst of its own accord. You will notice a release in pressure (followed by a quick reduction in discomfort) as the abscess breaks open, followed by a foul taste, which is the pus that was contained within the abscess. Rinse your mouth thoroughly. Do not swallow. Though not exactly harmful, the taste can be appalling. A salt water rinse is ideal as it cleans the now-broken abscess, and can help to remove the taste. Do not use standard mouthwash as this will cause irritation. Again, don't delay in seeing your dentist. A burst abscess might suddenly feel better, but the underlying infection needs to be healed.

So while you should ideally see your dentist well before a dental abscess comes to a head, it's important to know what to do if you should find yourself unable to get to the dental clinic immediately.


26 March 2018