A few weeks ago, I had an abscess on my gum that I thought was from brushing too hard and flossing too much… but when I went to the dentist, they said it was actually from a tooth infection that had spread from my wisdom teeth into my jaw bone and then into my gums! It took the dentist four days to get rid of it completely, but this is what happened and what you can do if you ever have a gum abscess yourself.
What is a tooth abscess?
The common definition of an abscess is an infection in which an area of pus collects in a cavity walled off from surrounding tissue. When we picture that, it’s easy to think of something deep inside our bodies—but an abscess can happen anywhere, including on your gums. If you have any sort of tooth infection, your dentist may use a procedure called aspiration to remove infected tissue from under your gum line. This procedure is simple: Your dentist uses something similar to a syringe to suck away gunk that is causing bacteria under your gums. You may need more than one visit for it to work—and if it doesn’t work (which happens sometimes), you’ll need surgery to fix it!
What are the signs of a tooth infection?
Gum inflammation, swelling, redness, tenderness, pain when chewing or even touching your teeth can all be signs of an infection. It’s important to note that while many symptoms point to a tooth abscess (such as gum inflammation), these symptoms can also point to other conditions. Additionally, it’s often possible for gingivitis (an early stage gum disease) to present with similar symptoms such as increased sensitivity or even pain when touching your teeth with no sign of inflammation. If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms but aren’t sure if they indicate an abscess it might be best to visit our office in order to make sure there isn’t any other underlying condition that needs treatment.
How do you know if you have both?
The very quick answer to how you can tell if you have both is that you don’t. The longer answer is that it depends on what you’re experiencing. A gum abscess (or swollen gum) is an area of infection in your gum tissue. These are typically caused by tooth decay or other dental problems, but they may also be due to periodontal disease, impacted teeth, or bite trauma. They tend to appear as lumps or pustules (which can be painful) located under a tooth; however, some abscesses develop outside of your mouth as well.
What were my symptoms when I had both problems simultaneously?
The main difference between my tooth infection and gum abscess was that I had a throbbing pain with my tooth infection, which lasted for about five days. With my gum abscess, it felt like there was something stuck under my gums but no pain. It wasn’t until I went to get help that it caused me pain, so it wasn’t as serious as I thought at first. It was also not throbbing—it was more of an annoying discomfort rather than an intense pain. The reason I know it was an abscess is because after having antibiotics to cure my tooth infection, they still had not gone away so they got bigger until they popped on their own with drainage that looks like cottage cheese coming out of your mouth.
How was it diagnosed that I had both problems together?
It was diagnosed after I went to see my dentist, as she looked inside my mouth with a dental mirror. She saw that there was some swelling on one of my lower wisdom teeth, so she took an x-ray. This revealed an infection in my tooth (see image) but also showed there was fluid build up around that tooth. When I had surgery to remove the gum abscess, they confirmed it was fluid around my wisdom tooth that needed to be drained. They were also able to surgically remove all of what appeared to be infected tissue from around that tooth, as well as some loose bone from underneath it that looked infected too.
Where did this all happen, in what country, and why did it happen there?
My dentist told me that I had developed an abscess on my gum from an infected tooth. He said it wasn’t bad enough to warrant treatment but recommended that I make an appointment with my general dentist, who referred me to another oral surgeon because he was too busy to deal with it. The oral surgeon cleaned out my abscess and treated my tooth infection (which took about 2 months of antibiotics) by removing 3 of my teeth. He also put in a new crown on one of them. The recovery took about a week, after which I had 2 follow-up appointments just to make sure everything was okay—and so far, it is!
What was the diagnosis, treatment, recovery time, etc.?
The abscess was resolved with antibiotics. My dentist said that I have Crohn’s disease, but I’m not sure how it relates to gum disease. It can be hard to diagnose, because some of its symptoms are similar to those of other health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBD). A doctor will try to figure out what’s causing your mouth pain by asking about your medical history and performing various tests, including blood work. If you have any major dental problems or risk factors for gum disease such as diabetes or heart disease, schedule an appointment with your dentist sooner rather than later. If left untreated, gum disease may spread from just under one tooth to others in that area (known as periodontitis) or throughout your mouth.