What Is a Dental Fistula? Causes of Appearance and Methods of Treatment


A dental fistula emerges due to oral inflammation and is frequently associated with inadequate dental hygiene practices. This disease stands out as particularly unpleasant, ranking among the top concerning conditions of the oral cavity, necessitating swift and comprehensive treatment. A key aspect of effective fistula-in-mouth treatment is seeking timely medical advice at the onset of symptoms. In this case, it is impossible to delay, because the disease may worsen over time, which means that it will be much more difficult to cure it.

Causes of Dental Fistula on the Gums

When there's an issue with your teeth, like an infection or when treatment doesn't work well, it can lead to a pocket of pus and blood forming near the tooth's root. A fistula, like a tiny canal, connects this pocket to the gum's surface, letting the pus drain out into the mouth. You might notice a small lump on the gum near the tooth's area, usually looking pink or red, unlike the surrounding healthy gum tissue. Luckily, this setup keeps the infection away from the other healthy teeth.

A fistula in the mouth typically develops due to a prolonged infection in the soft or bone tissues of the oral cavity, leading to the formation of a pus-filled channel. An infection, often bacterial, can penetrate the periodontium. This is a kind of complex of collagen fibers and connective tissue located in the slit-like space between the cementum of the tooth root and the alveolar plate. Also, developing caries, pulpitis, inflammation of the cyst, etc. can be the causes.

Often one of the dental fistula causes is the result of a dental procedure such as a root canal, if it was performed incorrectly. This procedure is often used in the treatment of pulpitis, periodontitis and in preparation for dental prosthetics. One of the common mistakes is the incomplete filling of the root canal with a filling. Even if the dental procedure is done completely, improper sealing of the filling material can lead to infection and, as a result, inflammation outside the tooth. Also, damage to the tooth root can be caused when cleaning the canals before filling.

Symptoms of Dental Fistula

This disease usually does not cause pain in itself. However, discomfort and pain may occur in the soft tissue or adjacent tooth. The actual appearance of a hole in the gum and the release of pus may provide temporary relief. But without treatment, the pain may return as an infection in the cavity can cause pus to build up again.

The main sign of a disease is pain in the tooth when chewing or when pressing on it. Other dental fistula symptoms may include swelling and swelling of the gums, a hole in the gum near the problem tooth, throbbing and discomfort in the surrounding tissue, scarring of the gum, discharge of pus or mucus, and bad breath. If you neglect the help of a dentist, serious complications may occur, such as tooth mobility or loss, as well as the spread of infection to the soft tissues of the face.

Treatment Methods for Dental Fistula

If the patient notices discomfort when closing the jaws or discovers a fistula on the gum, it is important to immediately make an appointment with a dental therapist. This indicates the presence of a chronic dental disease, which may periodically worsen if treatment is not started.

To begin diagnosing the disease, a medical history and examination of the oral cavity are always performed. In certain situations, an X-ray examination may be required. Dental fistula treatment tactics are determined by the cause of the disease. First, you need to eliminate the source of infection. If it is caries, then it is treated. Then, to prevent the recurrence of the pathology, the cleaned cavity can be treated with laser beams or ultrasound. After this, the cavity is filled.

After eliminating the cause of the disease, the next stage of treatment of dental fistula involves using of antimicrobial agents. In some cases, antibiotics and antihistamines are also prescribed. To relieve swelling, rinsing with saline solutions may be recommended. It is important to note that if granulation of the fistula occurs, the abnormal formation is removed using a laser. In complicated cases, surgical intervention is required, during which the tooth is removed along with the dental abscess, and then the fistula canal is cleaned. It should be understood that getting rid of this disease is usually not achieved in one visit to the dentist NYC. Treatment usually takes several weeks or even months.

To prevent a fistula, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and see your dentist regularly to treat any dental problems. In addition, it is worth having your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months.

Article Approved by:

Dhruti Soni Dental Hygienist, RDH