When tooth decay infects the nerve of a tooth, it is called an abscess. If the infection or abscess is not treated, it may spread to the bone or other teeth or become a life threatening bacterial infection.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, please contact our office immediately:
- Pain in the tooth or jaw
- Favoring one side to chew or not wanting to eat tough foods
- Swollen areas of the gum, neck or jaw
- A bubble or pimple on the gum near the infected tooth
- Bad breath even if the child just brushed their teeth
Treating an abscess
If a baby tooth has abscessed, it is usually extracted since it will be replaced with a permanent tooth at some point. A space maintainer may be used so the teeth on either side don’t drift into the extraction site, which could cause crowding around the erupting permanent tooth.
If it is a permanent tooth, the doctor will most likely perform a root canal to preserve the remaining tooth structure. Depending on the extent of the abscess, an antibiotic may be prescribed to prevent the infection from spreading.
Tooth Abscess Prevention
Preventing a dental abscess is as simple as maintaining a regular in-office dental exam and cleaning schedule and helping your child develop an excellent home care routine which includes brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day and limiting excess sugar (including fruit juices).