Abscessed Teeth: These are also commonly called "carnassial abscesses" because they most often occur with fractures of the maxillary fourth premolar. However, any infected tooth can result in a clinical abscess. It is critical to note that these teeth have been dead and infected for a long time (sometimes years) and have just recently showed outward clinical signs. The patient has been subclinically infected for a long time. They are most often associated with a complicated crown fracture. However, it is critical to note that uncomplicated crown fractures can often result in clinical abscessation. The infected teeth harbor anaerobic bacteria which create a constant low grade infection through the apex and into the surrounding bone. Oral infections may be spread by the bloodstream to the vital organs. Dental radiographs are required to definitively diagnose an abscessed tooth. Skull films are generally insufficient to diagnose this subtle pathology associated with most tooth root abscesses. The presence of a tooth fracture alone does not necessarily indicate that the tooth is the cause of the infection/swelling. The presence of periapical rarefaction is the diagnostic key. Furthermore, it is recommended that the entire arcade be radiographed to ensure that there are not additional teeth involved. Emergency treatment: Emergency treatment is directed at relieving the pain and decreasing the amount of infection. Pain medications should be prescribed in addition to broad spectrum antibiotics. This treatment should alleviate the acute issues, but it will not solve the problem. The tooth must be definitively treated, and treatment should be performed before the antibiotics are finished to avoid developing resistance. Definitive therapy: Once the tooth becomes infected, there is no way to effectively medicate the root canal system. Further therapy is therefore required, regardless of the resolution of the acute problem. The infection will smoulder for a period of time and then recur, leaving the patient to suffer through that entire intervening period. Definitive treatment options include complete extraction or ideally root canal therapy. Furthermore, the prognosis with root canal therapy of an abscessed tooth is very similar to this procedure on a vital tooth Brook A. Niemiec DVM Diplomate, American veterinary Dental College Fellow, Academy of Veterinary Dentistry Southern California Veterinary Dental Specialties www.dogbeachdentistry.com Las Vegas Veterinary Dental Specialties www.lvvds.com San Diego Veterinary Dental Training Center www.vetdentaltraining.com Veterinary Dental Telemedicine www.vetdentalrad.com

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