Wed. Oct 4th, 2023

When it comes to dental conditions, few are more concerning to wake up with than an infection.

Usually presenting as soreness and swelling, oral abscesses or infections can occur for many reasons and are typically due to decay reaching the root of a tooth. Alternatively, they are sometimes due to gum disease. 

But whatever the cause is, they are not ideal and are seen as a dental emergency, which will require same-day treatment from a dental team.

So, how do you spot if you are suffering from a dental infection? Read on to find out!


One of the most obvious signs of a dental abscess is excessive discomfort. This is usually intense and can be described as throbbing, sharp, or shooting. The sensation may be continuous or may come and go. The affected tooth may be sensitive to pressure or temperature changes, such as hot or cold food and drink. If you notice these sensations, then you will need to seek out an emergency dentist Ryde.


Another sign of a dental abscess is swelling in the affected area. The  dental swelling can be mild or severe and may be accompanied by redness and a feeling of heat. In some cases, the swelling may extend to the neck, cheek, or jaw, causing difficulty in opening the mouth.

Bad breath and taste

A dental abscess can cause a foul taste in the mouth and bad breath. The infection can release toxins that cause an unpleasant taste and odour. This can be particularly noticeable when you wake up in the morning or after eating.


In some cases, a dental abscess can lead to a fever. A fever is a sign that the body is fighting an infection. If you have a fever, it is vital to seek medical attention immediately, as it can indicate a severe infection.

Difficulty swallowing or breathing

In rare cases, a dental abscess can cause difficulty in swallowing or breathing. This is because the swelling can affect the airway, making it difficult to breathe. If you experience any difficulty in swallowing or breathing, seek immediate medical attention.

Treating a dental abscess

As mentioned before, a dental abscess is a medical emergency, especially if you are feeling nauseated, sick or have a fever.

Luckily, the majority of dental surgeries will keep appointments open to treat these issues, so it shouldn’t be too tough to get an appointment.

There are usually two treatments for treating a dental abscess.

If the decay is at the root of the tooth, but the crown of the tooth can be saved or has minimal decay, then your dental team will usually opt to perform a root canal. 

A root canal is, in essence, a procedure in which the infected or damaged pulp of a tooth is removed and the root canal is cleaned and sealed, yet it has a bad name for dental patients, even though it can preserve their smile. 

However, if the decay is excessive, or there is evidence that the tooth itself has broken in half underneath the gum line, then it may be best for the sake of your health to have it extracted. This is less favourable for the majority of dental teams, who will always aim to save the tooth first. The decision to extract a tooth or perform a root canal depends on the individual case and the extent of the damage.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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