Does a Ruptured Dental Abscess Need Emergency Treatment?

Posted on: 14 February 2022

If you noted the telltale swelling of a dental abscess, you likely regret not going to your dentist sooner. Perhaps you assumed that this infection wasn't especially serious, due to a lack of noticeable discomfort. How quickly things can change. A dental abscess can become excruciatingly painful, with considerable speed. You might have been planning to visit an emergency dentist but, as is often the case, the abscess ruptured by itself, which may have eliminated or reduced your discomfort. So is it still a dental emergency?

Pus and Your Gumboil

The abscess itself is a buildup of bacteria-loaded pus. It often forms a gumboil, which is a small, pimple-like pustule on your gums. In addition to discomfort directly caused by the bacterial contamination of the tooth and its surrounding tissues, the mass of the gumboil applies pressure to your gums, increasing your discomfort. Although you should never attempt to rupture a gumboil, it often happens on its own. Your relief can be immediate, but this doesn't mean that you're no longer dealing with an emergency situation.

Don't Assume the Problem Is Solved

Any relief experienced when an abscess ruptures is deceptive. There will be a brief, unpleasant taste as the pus makes contact with your tastebuds, but you might then assume that the problem has been solved. This is an incorrect assumption since the infection that led to the abscess is still present. If your discomfort was enough to make you want to visit an emergency dentist, you should still do so, as you simply don't know the severity of the situation.

Urgent Treatment for a Dental Abscess 

Dental abscesses often require antibiotics to treat the infection, and this should begin as promptly as possible. Therefore, waiting until your regular dentist can see you may be unwise. The gumboil may also require additional drainage, and this needs to happen in sterile conditions. Depending on the nature of your abscess, immediate treatment might be needed. For example, a periapical abscess originates in the tooth's dental pulp (which is its nerve), and you could need an emergency root canal to remove this infected pulp. 

Please don't think that you're totally out of the woods if your dental abscess ruptures. The good news is that this development will make you feel considerably better (and immediately too). However, a resurgence of the infection is still possible, so you'll need urgent treatment, even if the rupture makes it seem as though your symptoms are improving.

Contact an emergency dentist for more information.