Abscessed Tooth Guide (cont.)
Donna S. Bautista, DDS
Dr. Donna S. Bautista, DDS, completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor of arts in biochemistry and cell biology. During her time at UC San Diego, she was involved in basic research including studying processes related to DNA transcription in the field of molecular biology. Upon graduation, she went on to attend dental school at the University of California, San Francisco. In addition to her formal dental training, she provided dental care for underserved communities in the Bay Area through clinics and health fairs. She also worked toward mentoring high school students interested in the field of dentistry.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is an abscessed tooth?
- What causes an abscessed tooth?
- What are the signs and symptoms of an abscessed tooth?
- How is an abscessed tooth diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for an abscessed tooth?
- What is the prognosis for an abscessed tooth?
- Are home remedies effective for an abscessed tooth?
- Can an abscessed tooth be prevented?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What is the prognosis for an abscessed tooth?
The prognosis depends on the extent of the spread of infection. Usually, when the infection is localized to the tooth, the prognosis is very good if treatment is sought as soon as signs and symptoms are usually noticed.
When the infection is left untreated for a prolonged period and allowed to spread, the situation can escalate and be more difficult to control. There is the danger that the infection could rapidly spread to the bone of the jaw and other spaces of the head and neck. The swelling in the jaw or neck could even be so great as to affect the airway and become life-threatening. Finally, further complication and spread of the infection throughout the body (sepsis) can occur.
Are home remedies effective for an abscessed tooth?
Generally, home remedies are not advised for an abscessed tooth. Home remedies can be used to alleviate symptoms such as warm water rinses/warm compresses and taking over-the-counter medications for pain relief. However, the infection will still progress if not properly treated. Furthermore, avoiding treatment can lead to more serious complications. Seeking care and advice from a dental professional is strongly recommended as soon as possible.
Can an abscessed tooth be prevented?
Good home care habits and regular dental visits can play a big role in avoiding an abscessed tooth. Time is also a big factor in whether a tooth is allowed to reach the point of infection. The longer the tooth sits with a problem, the higher chance that infection can occur and spread to become an abscess. Once a decayed, fractured, or sensitive tooth is noticed, taking the preventive steps to fix it early will help prevent bigger problems such as an abscessed tooth.
Medically reviewed by Kenneth Rotskoff, MD, DDS; Board Certified Dentistry, Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery
Burns, Richard C. and Stephen Cohen (Eds.). Pathways of the Pulp. 2nd ed. St. Louis, MO: The C.V. Mosby Company, 1980.
WebMD Oral Health
Get tips for a healthy mouth.