Treatment

The goal of treatment is to get rid of the infection. To accomplish this, your dentist may:

  • 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 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. The tooth may be capped with a crown to make it stronger, especially for a molar tooth. 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.
Feb. 16, 2016
References
  1. AskMayoExpert. Dental abscess. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
  2. Abscess (toothache). MouthHealthy. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/a/abscess. Accessed Jan. 4, 2016.
  3. Abscessed teeth. American Association of Endodontists. http://www.aae.org/patients/symptoms/abscessed-teeth.aspx. Accessed Jan 4, 2016.
  4. Periapical abscess. Merck Manual Consumer Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/mouth-and-dental-disorders/tooth-disorders/periapical-abscess. Accessed Jan. 4, 2016.
  5. Toothache and infection. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dental-disorders/symptoms-of-dental-and-oral-disorders/toothache-and-infection. Accessed Jan. 4, 2016.
  6. Children's oral health: Abscess. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www2.aap.org/oralhealth/pact/ch9_sect1.cfm. Accessed Jan 4, 2016.
  7. Robertson DP, et al. Management of severe acute dental infections. BMJ. 2015;350:h1300.
  8. Laudenbach JM, et al. Common dental and periodontal diseases. Medical Clinics of North America. 2014;98:1239.
  9. Root canals. MouthHealthy. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/r/root-canals. Accessed Jan. 4, 2016.
  10. The tooth decay process: How to reverse it and avoid a cavity. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/OralHealthInformation/ChildrensOralHealth/ToothDecayProcess.htm#. Accessed Jan. 4, 2016.
  11. Toothbrush care: Cleaning, storing and replacement. American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/statement-on-toothbrush-care-cleaning-storage-and-. Accessed Jan. 4, 2016.
  12. Salinas TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 3, 2016.