An abscessed tooth is a painful bacterial infection that happens when bacteria enters the root of a tooth or between the gum and the tooth. It can be caused by poor dental hygiene, injury to the mouth, gum disease, or an untreated cavity. If left untreated, it can damage other teeth and even lead to more serious health problems. 

At Oral Facial and Implant Specialists, we know that dental infections can be incredibly painful and that you want to resolve them as soon as possible. Our professional, caring oral surgeons will be with you every step of the way. We use the latest technology to diagnose and treat your abscessed tooth quickly and effectively. 

If you are looking for help with an abscessed tooth in Deer Park or Barrington or if you are searching for oral surgeon Deer Park, oral surgeon Barrington, or oral surgeon near me, we are here for you. Call us at (847) 381-0106 or complete the online booking form for a free consultation.

What Is a Dental Abscess?

An abscess is a pocket of pus (white blood cells and bacteria) that forms around a localized infection. Pus form when your body is trying to fight off an infection. If the pus cannot drain it forms a pocket and the infection is known as an abscess. An abscessed tooth can cause red, swollen gums, a fever, and an unpleasant taste in your mouth. 

Why an Abscessed Tooth Is Dangerous

An abscessed tooth is serious and can spread to other parts of the body, causing more harm. If left untreated, it can cause damage to your jawbone or even lead to sepsis, a life-threatening infection that spreads throughout the body. It’s important to get an abscess treated as soon as possible.

A dental abscess can also lead to sinus infections. The maxillary sinuses are located above the upper jaw. If a tooth in the upper jaw becomes infected and spreads to the sinus cavity, it can cause an infection. This usually happens when the infection is left untreated, so getting dental treatment as soon as possible is important. 

Why Does My Child Have a Tooth Abscess?

With children, the most common cause of an abscessed tooth is tooth decay because children may not be diligent about brushing their teeth and getting regular dental care. When decay sets in, it can cause an infection that results in an abscess.

Signs of Infection

While everyone’s symptoms can be different, there are some common signs of an infected tooth. These include:

  • Pain when you bite down
  • Swollen, red gums
  • A fever
  • Bad breath
  • An unpleasant bad taste in your mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Trouble opening your mouth to eat or speak 

How an Abscessed Tooth is Treated

Antibiotics

The first line of treatment for an abscessed tooth is to take antibiotics prescribed by your oral surgeon. Antibiotics kill the bacteria that cause the infection and help reduce swelling and pain. 

Drainage

If your tooth needs immediate treatment, your oral surgeon may opt to drain the pus. This procedure will reduce the pain and swelling. While this will not fix the issue causing the abscess, it can help to relieve pain and reduce the risk of further complications. The surgeon will make a small incision in the gum to allow the pus to drain. 

Root Canal

If antibiotics don’t work, you may need a root canal to remove the infected pulp from inside the tooth root. The pulp chamber contains blood vessels, nerves, and tissue. The infected root pulp is first cleaned using special tools and then sealed with a filling called gutta percha that stops the infection from spreading to other teeth and prevents further damage.

Tooth Extraction

If root canal therapy is not successful or possible, your surgeon may recommend tooth extraction as a last resort. The entire tooth is removed and replaced with an implant or bridge to restore the function and aesthetics of the mouth. 

What You Can Do at Home

While dental abscesses need to be treated by a professional, there are some things you can do at home to relieve pain and discomfort.

  • Warm salt water rinse: This can help reduce pain and swelling. Mix one teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water and swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds. Spit out the solution and repeat as needed.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever: Pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Use a cold compress: A cold pack can help reduce swelling and pain. Hold the ice pack to your jaw or cheek for 20 minutes at a time.

If you think that you or your child may have an abscessed tooth, don’t wait to get help. Treating an abscessed tooth quickly and properly can prevent it from getting worse. 

When To Seek Help Immediately

If you or your child experience any of the following symptoms, you must get help right away:

  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • A severe headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Facial swelling
  • A high fever (over 101 degrees Fahrenheit)

If you or your child are experiencing any of these symptoms, head to the nearest emergency room.

Summary

  • An abscessed tooth is a painful bacterial infection that happens when bacteria enters the root of a tooth or between the gum and the tooth.
  • If left untreated, it can cause damage to your jawbone or even lead to sepsis, a life-threatening infection that spreads throughout the body.
  • Signs of infection:
    • Pain when you bite down
    • Swollen, red gums
    • A fever
    • Bad breath
    • An unpleasant bad taste in your mouth
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Trouble opening your mouth to eat or speak 
  • Treatment includes:
    • Antibiotics
    • Drainage
    • Root canal 
    • Tooth extraction
  • At-home remedies:
    • Salt water rinses
    • Over-the-counter pain medication
    • Cold compress
  • Seek medical attention if you experience the following symptoms:
    • Trouble breathing or swallowing
    • A severe headache
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Facial swelling
    • A high fever (over 101 degrees Fahrenheit)

Your Trusted Oral Surgeons in Deer Park

If you think you or your child may have an abscessed tooth, contact us right away. At Oral Facial and Implant Specialists, we care about your family’s health and well-being and use the latest treatments and technology to ensure your treatment is as comfortable as possible. Our caring staff and excellent patient care will have you feeling better in no time. 

If you are looking for help with an abscessed tooth in Deer Park or Barrington, or if you are searching for oral surgeon Deer Park, oral surgeon Barrington, or oral surgeon near me, we are here for you. Call us at (847) 381-0106 or complete the online booking form for a free consultation.

Call Us

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Brush My Teeth With a Tooth Abscess?

Yes, you should brush your teeth, but be gentle. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid brushing the area near the abscess. 

How Can I Prevent a Tooth Abscess?

The best way to prevent an abscess is to practice good oral hygiene and go for regular checkups with your dentist. Be sure to brush and floss daily, avoid sugary snacks, and don’t smoke. If you experience pain or swelling in your mouth, be sure to see your dentist right away.

Are Tooth Abscesses Contagious?

No, tooth abscesses are not contagious. However, it is possible for an infection to spread through a person’s bloodstream if left untreated. It is important to get treatment right away if you suspect you have an abscessed tooth.

How Do I Calm an Abscessed Tooth?

Salt-water or baking soda rinses can help relieve inflammation and pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can also reduce swelling and discomfort. Lastly, a cold compress can help reduce swelling and relieve pain. 

How Long Does It Take for a Tooth Abscess To Get Serious?

If left untreated, a tooth abscess can become serious very quickly, in as little as 1-2 days. The sooner you get help, the better!

Skip to content