The goal of treatment is to get rid of the infection. To accomplish this, your dentist may:
Feb. 07, 2013
- Open up (incise) and drain the abscess. The dentist will make a small cut into the abscess, allowing the pus to drain out, and then wash the area with salt water (saline).
- Perform a root canal. This procedure can help eliminate the infection and save your tooth. To do this, your dentist drills down into your tooth, removes the diseased central tissue (pulp) and drains the abscess. He or she then fills and seals the tooth's pulp chamber and root canals, and caps the tooth with a crown to enhance strength, especially for molar teeth. If you care for your restored tooth properly, it can last a lifetime.
- Pull the affected tooth. If the affected tooth can't be saved, your dentist will pull (extract) the tooth and drain the abscess to get rid of the infection.
- Prescribe antibiotics. If the infection is limited to the abscessed area, you may not need antibiotics. But if the infection has spread to nearby teeth, your jaw or other areas, your dentist will likely prescribe antibiotics to stop it from spreading further. He or she may also recommend antibiotics if you have a weakened immune system.
- Yadav S, et al. Facial necrotizing fasciitis from an odontogenic infection. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology. 2012;113:e1.
- Levi ME, et al. Oral infections and antibiotic therapy. Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America. 2011;44:57.
- Oral health fact sheet N°318. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs318/en/. Accessed Dec. 27, 2012.
- Root canal. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/r/root-canals.aspx. Accessed Dec. 27, 2012.
- Toothache and infection. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dental_disorders/symptoms_of_dental_and_oral_disorders/toothache_and_infection.html. Accessed Dec. 27, 2012.
- Cavities. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/c/cavities.aspx. Accessed Dec. 27, 2012.
- Brushing your teeth. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth.aspx. Accessed Dec. 27, 2012.
- AskMayoExpert. What are the primary causes of a dental abscess? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- AskMayoExpert. When should patients with a dental abscess be referred for evaluation or treatment? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- AskMayoExpert. When are patients with a dental abscess considered for operative procedures? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- Sheridan PJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 21, 2013.
- Roberts JR, et al. Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-3623-4..00065-1&isbn=978-1-4160-3623-4&sid=1401051032&uniqId=397705187-6#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-3623-4..00065-1. Accessed Jan. 22, 2013.
- Carr AB (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 21, 2013.
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