Dental abscesses are deep infections involving the tooth and the tissues that surround and support it. While an abscess can be very serious, many parents are surprised to learn that they’re fairly common among kids. In fact, some research indicates that dental abscesses are a common cause of emergency room visits among kids.
Compassionate Endodontists New York/NYC provides compassionate, state-of-the-art treatment for dental abscesses in both kids and adults. In this post, learn why our team recommends prompt treatment to help your child enjoy optimal oral health — now and in the future.
Dental abscesses 101
Abscesses form when bacteria enter the gum or bone tissue, typically as a result of tooth decay, dental trauma (like a cracked tooth), or a previous dental treatment, like a pediatric root canal. Some abscesses are associated with poor oral hygiene habits, like poor brushing or flossing routines that allow bacteria to build up along the gum or eat away at the tooth enamel and dentin.
When the bacteria multiply, the body’s immune system fights back, sending out white blood cells and other “germ fighters” to help keep the bacteria under control. As the infection continues, a pocket of pus and debris forms, usually in the gum tissue around the base of the tooth.
Unless that infection is treated right away, bacteria can enter the bone that surrounds the tooth root. In very severe infections, bacteria enter the bloodstream where they can cause widespread infection.
Kids with an abscess frequently have symptoms like:
- Throbbing, persistent toothache
- Tooth pain that increases when biting or chewing
- Swollen gums
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
- Jaw or ear pain
- Sour taste
Some infections can cause fever, swollen glands, and an overall feeling of being unwell.
Treating pediatric abscesses
Dental abscesses can be divided into different types, depending on where the infection occurs. Abscesses involving the gum tissue are called gingival abscesses, while infections beginning inside the tooth or affecting the bone tissue supporting the tooth can be either periapical or periodontal.
Our team uses different techniques to treat abscesses, depending on the type, location, and extent of the infection, among other factors. Overall, treatment aims to relieve immediate symptoms, eliminate dead tissue and disease-causing bacteria, and restore health to the infected area.
Often, abscesses need to be drained to get rid of pus and other debris. Drainage also helps relieve pressure in and around the tooth that’s a common cause of pain.
Abscesses involving the interior pulp portion of the tooth may require a pediatric root canal or an apicoectomy if the infection is centered around the root tip. In severe cases, extraction may be the best option. Most patients benefit from antibiotics to provide widespread protection against bacteria and to prevent the infection from spreading.
Don’t ignore your child’s toothache
Abscesses can cause immediate oral health problems for your child, as well as long-term complications. Prompt evaluation and custom treatment help your child feel better quickly while preventing more serious issues from developing.
If your child has symptoms of a dental abscess, call 929-229-0255 or book an appointment online at Compassionate Endodontists New York/NYC today.