TOOTH ABSCESS (Periapical Abscess; Periodontal Abscess)
(Periapical Abscess; Periodontal Abscess)
DESCRIPTIONTooth abscess is an abscess around a tooth root, which is imbedded in the bone of the upper or lower jaw. The gums and jawbone are involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Tooth abscesses can be drained in one of 3 ways: If the tooth has poor bone and gum support, the tooth can be extracted, allowing the abscess to drain through the socket and heal.
A hole can be drilled through the top of the child's tooth, and a tiny metal or plastic wick inserted into the narrow nerve canal through the center of the tooth. This allows the abscess to drain.
An incision can be made in the child's gum at the site of infection, which dramatically relieves pain and pressure. Your dentist may place a small rubber wick in the incision for a few days. When the infection improves, the dentist can perform root-canal therapy on your child.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSPersistent toothache or throbbing, extreme pain upon biting or chewing.
Swelling and tenderness in the child's neck glands and on the side of the face.
General ill feeling.
Foul taste and bad breath (if the abscess opens spontaneously).
CAUSESTartar beneath the gum.
Deep decay which has entered the tooth nerve. The infection spreads down the nerve and into surrounding bone and gum tissue, but does not affect the child's adjacent teeth.
Poor nutrition; improper diet; inadequate fluoride in drinking water.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Your child should follow these instructions to prevent decay with good brushing and flossing:
-- Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to remove plaque from the teeth's front and back surfaces, especially at the gum line.
-- Learn to use dental floss correctly. Ask your dentist or hygienist to demonstrate the technique.
Use fluoride mouthwash, toothpaste, tablets, or liquid supplements if your dentist recommends them.
Reduce sugar consumption. Tooth decay increases as sugar consumption increases.
MEDICAL TESTSYour own observation of symptoms; medical history and physical exam by a dentist; X-rays of the mouth.
Rupture into the sinus of an abscess in the upper jaw.
Loss of the tooth.
Spread of infection through the bloodstream to other body parts.
Usually curable with oral surgery.
HOME CAREInstructions for your child:
Rinse your mouth with warm water to draw infection from the abscess. Repeat each hour or as often as it feels good.
Don't chew on the affected side of your mouth for at least 2 days.
If a tube has been used to drain the abscess, keep the small hole free of obstruction. Carefully remove impacted food.
If a drain has been placed in gum tissue, return to your dentist in several days to have it removed.
MEDICATIONFor minor pain, use non-prescription drugs such as acetaminophen.
Your doctor or dentist may prescribe:
-- Antibiotics to control infection.
-- Pain relievers.
Your child can resume normal activities as soon as possible.
DIET & FLUIDS
A liquid diet may be necessary for 1 or 2 days until pain subsides.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When appetite has returned and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of a tooth abscess.
The following occurs during treatment:
-- Fever spikes to 101F (38.3C) or higher.
-- Pain becomes intolerable.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.