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Dental Abscess (cont.)

Dental Abscess Diagnosis

A doctor or dentist can determine by physical examination if there is a drainable abscess. X-rays of the mouth may be necessary to show small abscesses that are located at the deepest part of the tooth.

Dental Abscess Home Remedies

  • People who have cavities or toothaches can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), as needed for relief of pain and inflammation. As an alternative to or in addition to NSAIDs, acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be also taken. These medications may help the pain, but they will not treat the infection. Follow-up with a health-care professional is always indicated.
  • If an abscess ruptures by itself, warm-water rinses will help cleanse the mouth and encourage drainage. Even then, a follow-up visit to a dentist is important.
  • Infectious swelling accompanying a dental abscess is different than inflammatory swelling, and application of ice or cold packs to the area is not recommended.

Dental Abscess Treatment

For an acute dental abscess that causes substantial pain or swelling, the doctor may incise and drain the abscess and/or try therapy with antibiotics. Abscesses that are eminently life-threatening may require hospital admission. Pain medication is commonly prescribed until the symptoms can be controlled. These initial measures are often necessary to temporarily relieve the signs and symptoms of an acute abscess; however, further treatment directed at eliminating the primary source of the infection is necessary to prevent recurrence. The location of this primary source determines the "definitive" treatment options, which may include root canal treatment, periodontal treatment, or extraction of the tooth.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/13/2015
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Dental Abscess »

A dentoalveolar abscess is an acute lesion characterized by localization of pus in the structures that surround the teeth.

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