An abscess is a space that contains pus. It can occur anywhere in the body, and if it occurs around the tooth, it is known as a tooth abscess. There are a few types of tooth abscess (also known as dental abscess), and they are gingival abscess, periapical abscess, and periodontal abscess.
A dental abscess is called as a gingival abscess when the pus is contained only in the gum tissues. Periapical abscess occurs at the root tips of a tooth, while periodontal abscess can occur at any length along the root, and destroys the bone as well as the periodontal ligament (PDL) tissues.
A dental abscess occurs when the human body immune system is unable to overcome the bacterial infection, leading to formation of pus. The symptoms of a dental abscess are
- Pain that can either be pin pointed out (known as localized pain), or not (known as generalized pain).
- The affected tooth, and maybe along with other teeth nearby, will be loose.
- A bad taste or smell will be present in the mouth. This is due to the pus discharging into the mouth.
- The tooth may be painful during biting, and can feel ‘high’ as if it has over erupted.
- Swellings occurring outside of the mouth is very rare.
There are a few home remedies that can relieve the symptoms of dental abscess, however, as stated, it is caused by bacterial infection, therefore, try to go see the dentist as soon as possible to get it treated completely.
- A dry or wet black tea bag or a small piece of raw potato can be place next to the tooth that is hurting for a couple of hours, or even through the night. It can drain the pus and reduce the swelling and the pain. Black tea contains tannin, which is capable of reducing inflammation, and also TF-2, which can inhibit the Cox-2 gene which plays a role in the inflammation pathway. There are also tests showing that black tea can wipe our germs, and therefore reduce the inflammation in the mouth.
- A mixture of herbs can also be mixed together, and the paste is placed on the site where it is hurting or swelling. These herbs are ½ a tsp. of golden seal, 1/3 tsp. of cayenne pepper, ½ a tsp. of clove oil, ½ a tsp. of olive oil and 3 tsp. of activated charcoal. Cayenne pepper (also known as guinea spice, cow horn pepper, bird pepper, or aleva) and clove oil are highly effective pain relievers. Golden seal (also known as orange root) is an effective antibacterial and it also boost the effects of other herbs when they are used together, while activated charcoal helps to reduce inflammation.
- If there is pus draining out into the mouth, a small plastic spoon can be used to press against the swelling. This is to drain out even more pus, but remember to use only light and firm pressure. If this relieves some of the pain and swelling, continue to do so while gargling your mouth frequently to wash away the pus.
- To reduce the inflammation, you can also gargle with warm salt water for around 1 minute. This may sting in the start but it is quite effective. For other methods of reducing inflammation in the mouth, refer to How to treat gum disease naturally with herbal remedies
- Take 3 – 4 capsules (300mg) of garlic tablets per day for 5 days as natural antibiotic, or even better, mince the garlic and take it raw.
- A normal adult (and children over the age of three) needs at least 3 grams of vitamin C daily. To achieve this, citrus fruits or vitamin C supplements can be taken. Other sources of vitamin C includes blackcurrant, green pepper, broccoli, papaya, and indian gooseberry. Vitamin C is needed for cross linking of the collagen, which strengthens the blood vessel walls. Thus, without adequate vitamin C, the blood vessels tend to rupture easily. However, it is important to remember that effects of vitamin C and garlic takes time, and they need to be taken regularly and consistently. Treating dental abscess is not something that can be delayed, so these methods are more towards prevention than cure.
As we all know ‘Prevention is better than cure’. To prevent dental abscess from occurring, always maintain a healthy oral hygiene. Brush properly every day at least twice, for 2 minutes, and stay away from tobacco such as smoking, tobacco pouches etc. People with diabetes are more prone to dental abscess formation, thus, they must be even more diligent in taking care of their cleanliness of the mouth. Also, visit the dentist once or twice a year to make sure that your teeth are sound and healthy.