If you wake up one morning to find that there is pus seeping into your mouth from beneath your tooth, you're bound to be alarmed. Not only does the pus taste bad, but it's certainly a sign that something is amiss. Here's a closer look at the likely cause of the pus and what to do about it.
What causes pus to come from the teeth and gums?
Pus is always an indicator of an infection. It is a combination of bacteria, white blood cells that are attacking the bacteria, and fluid that has leeched out of your blood vessels. When it is coming from beneath your tooth, it is typically due to a dental abscess, which is an infection in your tooth root and the tissues surrounding it.
What other symptoms may come along with a tooth abscess?
If pus is the first symptom you are noticing, be aware that other symptoms are probably not far off. Most dental abscesses often cause pain in the tooth and gums, fever, sensitivity to hot and cold foods, and a throbbing sensation in the mouth. It's rather rare that pus is the first symptom you'll notice, but this can happen when the infection is not initially located too close to the nerves in your tooth and gums.
What can you do to treat a dental abscess?
If you suspect you have a dental abscess, you need to make an appointment with your dentist. This is not exactly an emergency situation, but you should not wait more than a few days to seek treatment, either. In rare cases, the infection can spread into your jaw bone or the surrounding tissues.
Your dentist will take x-rays and examine your mouth to determine where the abscess is located and how serious it is. In most cases, they will need to perform a root canal procedure to remove the infected tissue inside your tooth. You will be given local anesthetic before this procedure, so you won't feel any pain. The process takes about an hour, and when it is done, your dentist will give you a crown to protect your tooth.
Depending on the severity of the abscess, you may also need to take oral antibiotics for a few days. Make sure you take them for as long as is recommended by your dentist, even if the pus and other symptoms go away after a few days of antibiotic use.