Tooth abscess is a type of dental problem that can be caused by a lot of factors that allow bacteria to infect your tooth. Although it is recommended to visit a dentist if you suspect that you have a tooth abscess, however, there are some home techniques you could use to drain a tooth abscess at home if, for some reasons, such as fear of a dentist or distance, you cannot visit a dentist.
You will find in this article, seven useful tips, and techniques on how to drain a tooth abscess at home without going to a dentist. But first, what is a tooth abscess and how do you know you have a tooth abscess? Let’s find out.
WHAT IS A TOOTH ABSCESS
A tooth abscess is sometimes called a periodontal abscess. It is an infection that develops in the mouth when bacteria enter the tooth. This infection develops precisely within the enamel of a tooth and spreads within it, down to its root canal.
Like some infections, a tooth abscess results in the accumulation of pus (which is the abscess) in the affected tooth, when the bacteria reach the center of the tooth. The abscess is a collection of bacteria and decay from white blood cells fighting off the infection and tissue debris. This causes the tooth to swell and also results in a throbbing toothache.
CAUSES OF TOOTH ABSCESS
A tooth abscess can be caused by several reasons which can result in the break, chip, or decay of a tooth, allowing easy penetration of bacteria into the cracks to infect the area.
Some of the major causes of a tooth abscess are as a result of:
- An extracted tooth, often the wisdom tooth
- Cracked tooth resulting from a fall or an accident
- Gum infection
- A dental procedure is done by an uncertified dentist
- An underlying periodontal disease
- Food particles that get stuck in between the teeth
- Current infection on a tooth’s nerve.
SYMPTOMS OF TOOTH ABSCESS
Because of the burning pain felt in the entire area of the teeth, you may be unable to identify the particular tooth that has been affected (this is often the case). These symptoms may appear in groups or one after the other over time. To know if you have a tooth abscess, here are some of the symptoms you should look out for:
- Sensitivity to cold or hot foods or drinks
- Redness or swelling of the gums
- Headache on one side of your head
- Increase in body temperature/fever
- Bitter taste in the mouth
- Swelling on the side of the cheeks where the tooth abscess is located
- Severe pain in the jaw when you bite, chew, or sleep
- Foul smell of breath
DIAGNOSING A TOOTH ABSCESS
Since telling if you have a tooth abscess and locating the affected tooth can be difficult, a visit to a dentist will help to easily pinpoint the affected tooth. In addition to examining your teeth and its surrounding to identify a tooth abscess, your dentist may do any of the following:
- Tap on your teeth: A tooth with an abscess should be sensitive to touch or pressure.
- Do an x-ray: Your dentist may do an x-ray on the identified tooth with an abscess to determine if the infection has started spreading to other areas in your mouth.
- Do a CT scan: If the x-ray result shows that the infection has spread to other areas within your neck, doing a CT scan will help your dentist determine the severity of the infection.
The goal of treating a tooth abscess is to get rid of the abscess, for although the formation of the abscess is a way that the body uses to keep the infection from spreading, an untreated tooth abscess can damage the bone and teeth around it as the infection spreads. Hence, it is important to treat a tooth abscess immediately.
To treat a tooth abscess, your dentist may:
- Create a small incision to open up and drain the abscess. While the swelling is reducing, a small rubber drain may be placed in the open area to ensure complete draining of the abscess. Your dentist then cleans the area with saline water.
- Do a root canal: a root canal procedure can help in getting rid of the abscess and also save your tooth. A root canal would involve your dentist drilling down into your tooth to remove the diseased pulp and drain the abscess.
After draining, your dentist will then fill and seal the tooth’s pulp chamber and root canal. To make your tooth stronger, your dentist may suggest capping it with a dental crown.
- Extract the affected tooth: this is often the last resort in a case where the abscess is not treated immediately and the affected tooth cannot be saved. To get rid of the abscess, your dentist would have to carry out an extraction procedure to pull out the affected tooth and drain the abscess.
HOW TO DRAIN A TOOTH ABSCESS AT HOME
You may be scared of going to the dentist, or for some other reasons, you can’t go to a dentist to treat your tooth abscess, and seeing how important it is that you treat a tooth abscess immediately to prevent any complications, you may be wondering if there are ways to drain your tooth abscess at home so you don’t have to go to a dentist.
Not to worry, there are several tips and techniques on how to drain a tooth abscess at home, and also subside the pain that comes with a tooth abscess. Here are some techniques that can help you drain a tooth abscess at home:
1. Use Saline Water
The salt or sodium chloride in saline water (salt water) is known to heal wounds through the process of osmosis. Using saline water to rinse your mouth 2-3 times daily will draw the liquid in cells out of your body. This also helps to clean the area. This is an easy and affordable technique that you can try if you want to drain your abscess at home without having to go to a dentist.
2. Baking Soda Rinse
You can prepare a baking soda rinse by mixing ½ cup of warm water with ½ teaspoon of baking soda. This mixture is easy, affordable, and also an effective remedy to drain a tooth abscess at home. Baking soda has antibacterial properties, which help in removing and fighting plaque buildup in the mouth.
It also increases the pH in the mouth, and when this happens the mouth becomes a more alkaline environment for bacteria. A lot of oral problems are due to an imbalance of acid. Using a baking soda rinse balances the acidity levels and the plaques attached to the surface of your teeth and gums are reduced and their growth disrupted, hence they can’t cause any more damage.
3. Use Oregano Essential Oil
When you mix oregano oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or jojoba oil, apply the mixture onto the infected area with a cotton ball and allow it to sit for 10 minutes before spitting out. Oregano has great antibacterial and antioxidant properties that make it effective for reducing swelling and also subsiding the pain caused by a tooth abscess.
4. Garlic Paste
Garlic, like oregano, is also an antibacterial and also has antimicrobial properties due to a compound it contains –Allicin. This makes it an effective remedy for draining a tooth abscess, as it can kill bacteria in the mouth that are associated with toothaches.
To drain a tooth abscess at home using garlic paste, crush a clove of garlic into a paste and apply it to the infected area, and around the abscess. Although this remedy would not improve the foul breath caused by the formation of tooth abscesses, it will help in healing and reducing the pain.
5. Aloe Vera Gel
Another antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory remedy that you can use to drain a tooth abscess at home is the aloe vera gel. Apply the gel to the infected tooth, and it will help soothe and reduce the pain while immediately fighting off the infection.
6. Cold Compression
Although this technique cannot be used to drain the abscess, if you wish to manage the condition until you can see a dentist, then you can try it. Apply an ice pack to the affected area on and off for 15 minutes, several times a day to help ease the pain and symptoms of swelling.
7. Oil Pulling
This is an ancient technique that has been used in treating mouth ailments. Although there is limited evidence to confirm that the technique is effective, it is believed to be good for treating bleeding gums, bad breath, and reducing bacteria.
Oils such as raw coconut oil, sesame oil, and olive oil can be used for this technique. It is recommended to be done in the morning on an empty stomach. To drain a tooth abscess using this technique, take one tablespoon of your preferred oil and vigorously swish the oil around and through your teeth for 20 minutes.
There are basic preventive techniques that you can do at home to help improve your oral health and also tackle tooth abscesses such as:
- Avoid foods and drinks with high sugar content. Although they may not be a direct cause of a tooth abscess, with continuous consumption, they may not only lead to tooth decay but also an abscess.
- Get a tooth filling if you have any holes in your tooth. Neglecting to fill a visible hole in your tooth makes you susceptible to developing a tooth abscess in that tooth. Visit a dentist to get a filling as this can prevent an occurrence or recurrence of an infection.
- Improve your oral hygiene by brushing and flossing at least twice every day.
Poor oral hygiene and underlying dental disease, among others, can contribute to the development of a tooth abscess in your mouth. You may want to drain a tooth abscess at home using any of the techniques in this article, probably for fear of a dentist, however, it is advised that when you suspect a tooth abscess, you should visit a certified dentist to help with draining the abscess.