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Tooth Abscess Stages in Children: Treatment and Home Care

I enjoy writing about health and wellness topics and offering tips on home remedy solutions.

Tooth Abscess Stages in Children: Treatment and Home Care

Tooth Abscess Stages in Children: Treatment and Home Care

What Is a Tooth Abscess?

A tooth that has a pus pocket surrounding it is said to be abscessed. An abscessed tooth can be brought on by tooth damage, untreated tooth decay, or gum disease. When the body fights a bacterial infection, pus is produced. If the pus does not drain, an abscess develops.

When your child chews on food, an abscessed tooth can throb with pain and cause red, swollen gums. Your child may have a fever, a bad taste in their mouth, and swelling in their jaw.

Tooth Abscess Stages in Children

A tooth is made up of three layers: a hard outer layer, a second, porous layer, and dental pulp (a soft, nerve-filled center). In a child, when the dental pulp is infected with bacteria, it results in periapical abscesses. When severe inflammation occurs, an abscess may form around the infected tooth's apex.

Untreated cavities in children frequently lead to dental pulp infections. A cavity will eventually deepen to the point where it contacts the dental pulp if it is not treated. When this occurs, bacteria may enter the dental pulp and cause inflammation, which may cause the pulp to die and result in a tooth abscess.

Tooth abscesses may also be caused by dental injuries, which are common in children. In some cases, bacteria may be able to enter the dental pulp of a child's tooth, especially if the tooth has suffered a deep chip or crack. Additionally, if a tooth comes under pressure during an accident or injury, the nerve and blood vessels may be severed or harmed, which could result in an infection later on.

A  broken down tooth with abscess and draining pus

A  broken down tooth with abscess and draining pus

Abscess Tooth Treatment for Children

A dentist should begin treating an abscessed tooth right away. The infection could spread to other areas of your child's body if it is not treated. Your child will receive antibiotics from the dentist to treat the infection. Your child might require additional treatments if antibiotics are unable to stop the infection.

Follow up Care

The treatment and well-being of your child depend heavily on proper follow-up care. Make sure to schedule and keep all appointments, and if your child experiences any difficulties, call your dental office right away. Additionally, it's a good idea to keep track of your child's prescriptions and test results.

Treatment at Home

There are a few home remedies that you may use to help with your child's recovery at home:

Reduce pain and inflammation: By applying ice or a cold pack to the outside of your child's cheek for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, you can lessen pain and swelling in your child's face and jaw. Put a thin piece of cloth between your child's skin and the ice to protect the skin from burning.

Provide assurance: There are many ways we can help a child feel more at ease physically. When a child is in pain or uncomfortable, just giving them a hug can help them feel better. Try engaging in joint activities like reading, playing games, or listening to music. Children who are distracted experience less pain and distress. Thanks to digital technology, older kids might be better able to distract themselves.

Maintain dental hygiene: Gently remind your child to floss and brush their teeth to reinforce the value of good oral hygiene. Even though a child with a tooth abscess may not find the thought of this appealing, you could make the experience more enjoyable by giving them a new toothbrush. It may seem insignificant, but your child may be more motivated to continue brushing thanks to the novelty of a new toothbrush.


Use medications safely and give pain medication exactly as instructed. If your child was given a prescription for pain medication by the doctor or dentist, follow their directions carefully. Ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).

Your child is relying on you to administer pain relief safely, so use medications with caution. Be sure to read the entire label's instructions, then follow them exactly. If a doctor or dentist prescribes it, give your child antibiotics. Your medical professional will likely explain that even if your child feels better, the entire antibiotic course should be completed.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Anytime you think your child may require urgent care, dial 911. For instance, call if your child is having breathing difficulties. If your child shows any worsening symptoms of infection, such as elevated pain, swelling, warmth, redness, pus draining from the area, or a fever, call your doctor's or dentist's office right away. Keep an eye out for any changes in your child's health, and if they don't get better as expected, call your doctor or the dentist's office right away.

Sources and Further Reading

  • Dental abscess - Wikipedia
    A dental abscess is a localized collection of pus associated with a tooth. The most common type of dental abscess is a periapical abscess, and the second most common is a periodontal abscess.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2022 Louise Fiolek