Discovering pus oozing from or near one of your teeth is never a pleasant experience, but it is one that should be taken seriously. Whether the pus is emanating from the tooth itself or the surrounding gum tissue, both may indicate an infection that should be treated quickly. Failing to do so will allow the infection to spread, potentially to dangerous levels. These are four possible causes behind leaking pus in your mouth, as well as how they can be treated.
Checking for an Abscess
If the pus is accompanied by pain and not coming from the tooth itself, you may be dealing with an abscess. This is caused by an infection in the roots of the tooth, deep below your gumline. Abscesses typically occur in cases of prolonged tooth decay, but they can also form after damage to your tooth or jaw. If allowed to progress, this infection will spread into your jaw, requiring much more serious treatment and causing possibly permanent damage. A root canal or extraction may be necessary to save the tooth or remove the source of the infection.
Inspecting for Cavities
In other cases, when the pus is coming directly from the tooth, you may simply have a cavity that needs to be repaired. Most cavities can be corrected with a filling or root canal. Alternatively, if your tooth has just undergone a filling or root canal, it may have become re-infected during or after the procedure and will need to be treated for the procedure to heal as intended.
Assessing The Health of Your Gums
Severe gum disease, or periodontitis, is usually characterized by receding gums that bleed easily, but it also leaves you more vulnerable to infection. The small lacerations that lead to bleeding also provide a quick and easy route into your bloodstream for bacteria, which may spread to your heart if ignored. If the pus appears to be widespread and you find blood on your floss, your dentist will likely recommend treating the gum disease as well as its symptoms.
Identifying an Impacted Wisdom Tooth
If you have never had your wisdom teeth removed and the pus is coming from the back of your mouth, one of your wisdom teeth may have impacted as it attempted to erupt. Wisdom teeth are relics of a time when human beings had larger jaws, which is why they so often lack the room they need to grow normally. Infections stemming from impacted wisdom teeth are almost always treated by extracting the teeth themselves; the infection is then treated as part of post-surgical recovery. No matter what the cause, you should always take oral infections seriously, so schedule an exam with your dentist at the first opportunity to have the issue resolved before it can become worse.
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