Abscessed Tooth - Treatment

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What is the treatment for an abscessed tooth?

In adult teeth, the usual treatment for an abscessed tooth begins with properly clearing the infection. Treatment depends on how much the infection has spread. The course of action usually involves oral antibiotics and draining the tooth and surrounding structures of the infection.

In some situations, the infection can spread quickly and require immediate attention. If a dentist is unavailable and there is a fever, swelling in the face, or swelling in the jaw, a visit to the emergency room is recommended. An emergency room visit is imperative if there is difficulty with breathing or swallowing.

Once the infection is cleared and the tooth can be restored, a root canal procedure is performed. The "root canal treatment" cleans out the entire inner space of the tooth (pulp chamber and the associated canals) and seals the space with an inert rubber material called gutta percha. Cleaning and sealing the inner space protects the tooth from further invasive infections. If the tooth cannot be restored, the tooth is extracted instead.

In children's primary teeth (baby teeth), if a tooth has abscessed, there is very little that can be done to save the tooth. The appropriate treatment would be extraction of the abscessed tooth. In an abscessed primary tooth, the infection has advanced and there is no way to completely remove all of the infection. Complete removal of the abscessed tooth is also important in avoiding a persistent infection that could risk harming the adult tooth that is developing underneath. Oral antibiotics may or may be needed depending on the extent of the infection.

During pregnancy, a dental abscess requires immediate attention in order minimize further spread of the infection. Any risk of infection while pregnant is a concern as the infection can be more severe in pregnant women or could harm the fetus.

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Comment from: bector, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

I had an abscessed back right upper tooth. The pain was severe upon chewing, brushing, and contact with hot or cold beverages. It turns out I had a cavity below the gum line that didn't look that bad on x-ray (which is why it had gone untreated). Since the dentist was unsure that a crown would fit on this tooth, I opted to have an extraction. They numbed the outside of my tooth as well as the roof of my mouth, which was painful but not unbearable. I then felt a lot of strong tugging, followed by cleaning and pressure. The tooth actually smelled bad when it was removed due to the infection. The dentist then put in bone graft granules and stitched up the site. I went home with amoxicillin and Vicodin for pain. After 24 hours, I still have a little pain at the site, but nothing like before.

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