An abscessed tooth is a dental condition in which the nerve, also called dental pulp, has become infected. The infection usually occurs when a dental cavity goes untreated and bacteria spread deep within the tooth. Left untreated, an abscess can progress to a serious, life-threatening bacterial infection throughout the entire body. This is especially harmful to children, because their immune systems are not fully developed.
SIGNS YOUR CHILD MAY HAVE AN ABSCESS
- Continuous sharp or throbbing pain
- Pain when chewing
- Red, swollen gums
- Swollen neck or jaw
- Bitter taste in the mouth or bad breath
- “Pimple” or “bump” present on the gums adjacent to the tooth
If an antibiotic is deemed necessary, your dentist will prescribe it. Not every dental abscess requires an antibiotic.
TREATMENT OF AN ABSCESS
If an abscess occurs in one of your child’s primary or baby teeth, it will most likely need to be extracted. Depending on the location of the extraction, a space maintainer may be necessary until the permanent tooth emerges to prevent the surrounding teeth from drifting into the open space.
If your child’s permanent tooth has an abscess, the treatment options consist of root canal therapy to clean and remove the infection, or tooth extraction. Your pediatric dentist may also choose to add an antibiotic to your child’s treatment plan. This will prevent the infection from spreading further into the jaw and bone tissue.
TOOTH ABSCESS PREVENTION
The good news about a dental abscess is that it’s easily preventable! Schedule regular exams to your pediatric dentist to monitor and address any cavities present in your child’s mouth. Also, making sure your child follows effective home-care practices, such as brushing twice a day and flossing, and eliminating excess sugar in his or her diet, are simple ways you can prevent an abscessed tooth.