Chronic apical abscess refers to a type of dental infection that can affect a tooth. The infection and symptoms come on slowly and you might not ever feel any pain or discomfort associated with the infection. Any pain or discomfort that does present will likely be mild and you may have some pus discharge from the surrounding soft tissue. The lack of symptoms doesn't mean you should leave the infection untreated as a chronic apical abscess can potentially kill your tooth.
What are some ways your dentist can treat a chronic apical abscess?
Root Canal Therapy
The dentist will start by treating the tooth if the tooth is still viable, which means that the infection hasn't completely killed off the dental nerves. Your dentist will start the root canal therapy by drilling a hole into the top of your tooth to access the upper pulp chamber that holds the infected tissue and nerve material. The infected material is gently scraped out using a thin specialized tool. Your dentist will then rinse out the chamber with an antibiotic solution and close up the tooth with a dental crown.
It's important to perform the root canal procedure first to remove the infection from the interior of the tooth. Swelling, inflamed pulp tissue can lead to pain and damage to your tooth. Once the pulp is removed, your dentist can move on to treating other symptoms in the area.
Gum Treatment and Draining
Swollen gums around the base of the infected tooth might clear up once the root canal therapy has finished. Any pus-filled sacs that have formed will need to be drained of the infection material within and then thoroughly cleaned. Your dentist might also prescribe both oral and topical antibiotics to finish clearing up the infection.
Pus within the soft tissue can sometimes start to eat through the jawbone. If you have jawbone erosion, your dentist might opt to perform a bone graft using your bone or a donor bone to build the bone in the area back up to offer proper support for your tooth.
Tooth Extraction and Dental Replacement
Due to the lack of symptoms and slow onset, a tooth with chronic apical abscess can sometimes be left untreated for too long and the infection will succeed in killing the tooth before the dentist can diagnose and treat the problem. You will need to undergo a dental extraction then choose a dental replacement for both cosmetic purposes and to keep your bite in proper proportion.