This problem, in which the tooth basically dies and the bone around it becomes infected and filled with pus, is very common. As the pus builds up, it usually finds an exit into the mouth through the gums near or over the teeth. This is what we refer to as a sinus, and it looks like a "pus pimple".
Along with this, patients may notice a change in the color of the tooth as well as a bad taste and odor caused by the pus. This problem can occur as the result of decay that was left untreated, physical trauma to the tooth, a root canal treatment that failed, or a combination of these factors..
Delaying treatment for this condition can lead to damage of the tooth and jawbone, and may necessitate the removal of the tooth.
Thankfully, treatment isn't usually too invasive. In most cases, a root canal treatment will solve the issue. Your dentist will probably put you on antibiotics to help fight the infection as well as cleaning your tooth out to facilitate healing.
In a root canal treatment, the dentist gains access to the inner chambers of a tooth, and cleans it by removing the infected material from inside. The procedure will usually be carried out over two appointments, although additional appointments are necessary if the infection persists.
Even though you may have heard stories about how root canal treatments are painful, I have observed that the nerves inside the tooth are already dead in many cases, so the procedure is not painful at all.
The healing time varies from patient to patient, although you should not be able to squeeze pus out by the time you second appointment comes around.
Patients who are still experiencing these symptoms after root canal treatment are facing a more serious problem. Root canal treatment will have to be repeated. This procedure has a higher chance of failure as the infection has clearly withstood the previous treatment. The tooth may have to be extracted if the re-treatment is unsuccessful too.
A root canal treatment is followed by crown placement to prevent your now weaker tooth from cracking or breaking during normal chewing. The key to tackling this problem is to not let it fester and to take prompt action so the damage can be as limited as possible.
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