Are your gums red and swollen? Do you see blood when you spit toothpaste? If so, that’s common, but it’s not healthy. At All Coast Dental in Pacific Beach, we take gum disease very seriously, and want our patients to understand all of its signs and complications. We encourage you to see us for a cleaning soon if you’re experiencing gingivitis, because if left untreated, you could develop a gum abscess.
An abscess is a hollow space where pus accumulates. Pus is the mixture of bacteria, dead tissue, and acid that builds up as the result of an infection. When a person has gingivitis, which is the lesser form of gum disease, an abscess may develop near the gum line. This would be called a gingival abscess. By contrast, a periodontal abscess forms when a person has periodontitis, the more severe form of gum disease. When a gum infection is advanced, it will cause the walls of the gum pocket to loosen and recede from a tooth root. Pus could accumulate in this hollow space, leaving the patient not only in pain and with a persistent bad taste in their mouth, but also at risk of fever and jaw bone deterioration.
We can lance and drain the pus from an abscess, but to truly kill the infection, we’ll have to remove the dead tissue. X-rays will reveal whether a patient’s dental pulp is also infected, in which case they’ll need a root canal procedure. Once the infection is removed, we will smooth down the tooth’s root by a process called planing so it will be easier to clean at future appointments. Patients will also need to take antibiotics following treatment for an abscess to ensure the infection won’t return.
Drs. Julie and Joseph Boulos operate All Coast Dental at 2180 Garnet Ave, Suite 1-K, Pacific Beach, California, 92109. To schedule an appointment, call 858-270-4904 or visit All Coast Dental and fill out a contact sheet.