An abscess is an infection underneath the gum or tooth that can cause a severe amount of pain and discomfort, as well as damage to mouth and tooth structures. Learn how a gum abscess is typically a result of periodontal disease with information from a dentist in this free video on dental health and oral hygiene.
Today, we're going to talk about what an abscess is and how it affects the mouth. An abscess is basically a collection of infection that is accumulated underneath the gum or the tooth and can cause a severe amount of pain or discomfort for the patient. It usually manifests in two different ways: you can either have an abscess in the gums or you can have an abscess in the tooth. And it's very important to understand that there is a difference between the two. One is usually a result of something... some sort of direct trauma to the tooth, whether it be blunt force trauma or a cavity, whereas a gum abscess is typically due to periodontal disease or also known as gum disease. The dangers of both of these are that they can cause extreme pain and also damage to the adjacent mouth tooth structures and anything around the area. With them being so painful and uncomfortable, they oftentimes warrant pretty extreme treatments such as a root canal or an extraction or sometimes advanced surgery to remove the abscess. But an abscess is very dangerous in the fact that it is a bacterial infection and while... and is localized in the gums or the tooth. If it's left unattended to, it can spread to other areas and cause a lot more significant damage. So for example, for an abscess, again, we discussed how there's two different areas where you can get an abscess. The other thing is on an abscess, it's typically characterized by a bubble or a blister, so if one realizes that they have a bubble or blister around the tooth or the gum, it is likely that it is an abscess. So again, the source of a tooth abscess typically occurs within the tooth, but it occurs down by the end of the root. And again, what you typically see is a blister or a bubble, and it's very mobile. You can push on it and it hurts extremely to pressure, and it basically makes the area very throbby. In contrast, you can also have a gum abscess, which typically occurs a little farther up around where the gum basically meets the tooth. This can be due to having gum disease. This can also be due to getting some sort of food entrapment between the gum and the tooth. For example, if you get a popcorn kernel stuck down in between the gum and the tooth, your body will initiate an abscess reaction response where the tissue will swell up and be extremely uncomfortable.