A dental abscess is an infection deep in the gums and surrounding tissue that is usually caused by bacterial growth from an untreated cavity. It’s an extremely painful condition that will not resolve on its own and requires dental intervention. Left untreated, the infection can spread to other areas of the body and even become life-threatening. Typical symptoms of a dental abscess include pain, facial swelling, redness of the face, fever, a pimple-like nodule on the gums, and pus drainage. If your child has any of these symptoms, they should be brought to the dentist for an evaluation. Other more severe symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, and difficulty breathing.
An abscess can be diagnosed by the dentist visually or on an x-ray. If your child has an abscess on a baby tooth, the tooth will likely need to be extracted and thus the abscess will drain. If the abscess is on a permanent tooth, it will likely require a root canal with a crown in order to save the tooth. Unfortunately, even some permanent teeth cannot be saved if an abscess has persisted for a long time. He or she may also need a course of antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Our doctors try to only use antibiotics if the child has a facial swelling or has been in pain and the tooth cannot be extracted immediately.
To prevent a dental abscess, make sure your child has a good oral hygiene routine, take them to the dentist every six months to check for cavities, and have their cavities fixed promptly.