A dental abscess is caused by a bacterial infection in which a pocketful of pus forms. The pocket generally forms in the soft pulp of the tooth and can be caused by an untreated cavity, old dental work, plaque or an injury.
There are 3 types of dental abscesses which include:
- Periapical abscess: when the infection occurs in the “soft pulp”, of the tooth.
- Periodontal abscess: when the infection occurs in the bone tissues that support the structure of the tooth.
- Gingival abscess: when the infection only affects the gum and surrounding tissue area rather than the periodontal ligaments or teeth.
Which type of dental abscess you have will determine the types of symptoms you experience as well as the location in which those symptoms are experienced. Symptoms of a dental abscess vary but are generally easy to spot.
The symptoms are relatively common and include:
- Generalized tooth pain
- Tenderness when chewing or when touching around the affected area
- Facial edema (swelling)
- A not so pleasant taste occurs in your mouth
- Difficulty sleeping
- Fever and/or swollen lymph nodes
- Difficulties with opening your mouth and/or swallowing
These symptoms are just to name a few. The most common sign of a dental abscess is tooth pain that can be anywhere from a dull ache, to a throbbing or sharp and stabbing.
Dental abscesses usually come on suddenly and then gradually increase over the span of a few hours to a day. In some serious cases, pain may extend into the ear, jaw, throat, and neck.
Treatment for Dental Abscesses
If you feel as though you may be suffering from a dental abscess you’ll want to consult with your dentist as soon as possible. A doctor cannot treat an actual abscess but in some cases, when your dentist is not available, the MD can provide treatment for the symptoms. An antibiotic for instance or pain medications.
There’s a number of treatments for a dental abscess through a periodontal surgeon or dentist. Cutting out the abscess is one option which involves cutting out and draining the bacteria.
The second form of common treatment is by having a root canal. A root canal entails of drilling into the tooth and, “root canal”, in which the inflamed and infected part of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected. It is then re-sealed with a rubber-like cement.
With periodontal abscesses, the abscess needs to be cleaned and drained. After which the root surfaces are smoothed out below the gum line. In doing so, the tooth heals and also any further infection is prevented.
In severe cases, the diseased tissue may have to be surgically removed after reoccurring dental abscesses have caused damage. And in some cases, the tooth may have to be surgical extracted.
Will Medicare Cover a Dental Abscess
Neither Medicare Part A or Medicare Part B have any standard dental coverage. Standard dental includes regular cleanings and x-rays, crowns, root canals, fillings, or tooth extractions. This includes dental supplies like dentures and dental plates.
In some cases, however, Medicare will pick up the claim if you were to have an accident that would require reconstructive jaw surgery.
Or if you have jaw cancer and may need a tooth/teeth removed to receive treatment. Then Medicare would consider this medically necessary and pick up coverage for that specific treatment.
But will Medicare commonly cover a dental abscess? The routine answer is no, as a dental abscess falls under standard dentistry coverage.
In some cases, the infection can spread to the neck, jaw, throat or tongue, and may require additional medical treatment. A rarity of a dental abscess is sepsis, which is an infection of the blood, causing septic shock, organ failure, and even death.
When the severe happens and you were to need hospitalization, this is an exception in which Medicare Part A, your hospital benefits, would pick up coverage for the condition. Any treatment you were to receive while there would be covered as it’s considered medically necessary.
Once you’re discharged and should you need a routine to follow up with your regular healthcare provider, then your Medicare Part B, your outpatient benefits, will pick up coverage.
This would include any office visits, x-rays or labs. Any outpatient medications will not be covered as Traditional Medicare does not have prescription drug coverage.
Should you need hospital or outpatient care, your Medicare benefits will pick up 80% coverage of the Medicare allowable. This is after, of course, any Medicare deductibles have been met.
The remaining 20% coinsurance will be left to the Medicare beneficiary to pay. Depending on the hospital aftercare from a serious infection like an abscess, this can quickly add up.
How You Can Save Extra Money if You Experience a Dental Abscess
While routine dental care isn’t covered, in situations where an infection arises that requires more serious healthcare, there is an opportunity to have additional medical coverage.
As previously stated, both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B only provide 80% coverage once the deductible has been met. There are insurance policies available called Medicare Supplement Plans that are offered by private health insurance companies.
The sole purpose of these policies is to pick up coverage on items not covered by your Traditional Medicare benefits.
This includes deductibles, coinsurance, copayments and many other healthcare costs. As most seniors live on fixed incomes or are on disability, the extra money saved from a supplement plan can add up quickly.
Additionally, you can purchase a stand-alone Medicare Part D Plan or Prescription Drug Plan, that offers you the prescription drug coverage that Traditional Medicare doesn’t.
You can find out more information on both Medicare Part D Plans and Medicare Supplement Plans by contacting us today. Call our toll free 800 number or fill out our online form
And one of our licensed insurance agents can go over plans and discuss rates without any obligation to buy.
According to NHS, there are some quick and easy ways to avoid dental abscess:
Fast Facts to Avoid an Abscess
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride.
- Never forget to floss, floss, floss!
- Try and remember to just spit out the toothpaste rather than using mouthwash or water to rinse after brushing.
- Avoid certain drinks and foods containing sugar or that have a high starch content.
- The dentist is your friend! Visit them regularly for routine cleanings!!