If you have an extremely painful tooth and notice a large, red, and swollen growth protruding from the side of your gums, then you likely have an abscess. An oral abscess is a bacterial infection that produces an accumulated ball of pus either in your tooth or gum tissues. Abscesses do not go away on their own, and they require treatment. In most cases, an abscess is considered a serious ailment that requires immediate attention. If your dentist is unable to see you for a few days, then you may think about popping the abscess to allow the pus to drain. While this will release pressure, it is a bad idea. Keep reading to find out why. 

Bacterial Will Release Into Your Mouth

Bacteria live on all surfaces both inside and outside your body. Some bacteria are harmful, some are beneficial, and others have very little effect on your body. In general, the different types of bacteria live among one another and do not harm your body. Sometimes, the infection-causing bacteria that live in your mouth will find an opening in the gum tissues and an infection will develop. These bacteria thrive and multiply. 

When harmful bacteria multiply, they are much more likely to spread out and cause infections elsewhere in the body. This happens when the bacteria are released into the bloodstream or when they come into contact with healthy tissues. The popping of the abscess is one way that the bacteria can spread. If you happen to also have a heart condition, then an infection, called endocarditis, of its lining can develop. 

It is best to avoid serious and potentially dangerous infection issues by not rupturing the abscess. If you want to relieve some of the pressure, then apply a warm compress to the area instead. This will reduce swelling and pain will subside a small amount.

The Abscess Will Grow Back

Some people will think that they can simply drain abscess and the infection will clear up on its own. However, this almost never happens. When an abscess forms, infection causing bacteria gather underneath the gum tissues. Bacteria are extremely small. They are about one-tenth the size of a typical animal cell. Bacteria are 10 microns big at the most. Since one micron is equal to one-thousandth of a millimeter, the microorganisms are about one-hundredth of a millimeter or smaller. 

The extremely small microorganisms will form in the millions and cling to the inside tissues of the abscess. Even if you do thoroughly clean the formation after puncturing it, there are likely to be hundreds or thousands of bacteria left behind. These bacteria will then thrive and grow and the infection will continue. This is why antibiotics are provided by your dentist even when the abscess is drained professionally. 

For more information about what you should do if you discover an abscess in your mouth, talk to a dentist like those at DSW Dental.