Tooth abscess in a toddler what to do?

(March 3, 2010)

A tooth abscess in a toddler is not uncommon and is generally the result of an intense tooth infection. As a tooth starts decaying, the infection gradually spreads down to the roots and eventually affects the blood vessels that lie in the infected region, if not attended to in time. As the infection intensifies, pus begins to collect in the sac that lies under the tooth making the region sensitive and extremely painful. Since a toddler is unable to communicate his feelings effectively, a tooth infection often goes unnoticed and comes to light only when the infection intensifies. If taken lightly, the infection may affect the adjoining teeth, resulting in a spread of infection. Loss of appetite and weight are common symptoms of dental problems as the pain and sensitivity accompanying a toothache or soreness of the mouth diminishes the toddler’s desire to eat heartily.  

The most common cause for tooth decay in toddlers is the fact that most parents allow their baby to sleep with a milk bottle in their mouth. Furthermore, the milk is sweetened to make it more palatable. The carbohydrate content in the milk reacts with the acids present in saliva and this starts eating into the tooth enamel. Once this hard protective covering is invaded, tooth decay is inevitable. At times, a toddler is given fruit juice just before bed. This too causes damage to the teeth. Hence, putting your toddler to bed with a bottle in his mouth is an absolute no. It is always better to give your toddler some water just before going to bed so that the mouth is cleansed of milk and other foods. Rubbing your toddler’s gums with a soft piece of cloth before bed, will further help in removing germs that may be lodged in between the teeth and gums. This reduces the chances of the spread of infection. If your toddler is old enough, you could encourage him to brush his teeth and gargle with salt water before bed, every day. Salt is a natural germicide that curbs infection and decay. This solution will also help in drawing out the pus thus minimizing the pain and discomfort experienced.

Visiting a dentist is a must as only a dentist will be able to ascertain the extent of damage. An infection or abscess in the initial stages can be taken care of by medication prescribed by a dentist. However, depending on the severity of the infection, the dentist may recommend extraction of the infected tooth. Being milk teeth, an extraction will not have any long term effects on your toddler’s set of teeth but will definitely provide much relief.  

Submitted by P T on March 3, 2010 at 12:56

Tooth abscess is a painful infection, wherein pus gets formed in a pocket as a result of a bacterial infection in the bone at the end of the root. The nerve and blood vessels begin to decay inside the tooth and causes cells to die. The bacteria then begin to grow from the dead tissue left behind and create an abscess-pus filled swelling that is highly alkaline in nature.

There are basically two types of tooth abscesses:

•    Periapical abscess: occurs in the dental pulp and is usually prevalent in toddlers.

•    Periodontal abscess: initiates in the supporting bone and tissue structures of the teeth, and is seen in adults.

It is important for your toddler to maintain good oral hygiene that helps prevent abscesses by keeping the teeth and gums free of food and debris. The most common causes of toddler tooth abscess are tooth decay, tooth cavity, trauma to the tooth, gum disease, or gingivitis. The symptoms of an abscessed tooth are easy to see and are listed below:

•    Severe pain in the affected area
•    Swelling around the jaw
•    Foul smell in the breath
•    Swollen neck gland
•    Diarrhea, chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting
•    Gum inflammation
•    Pus drainage
•    Difficulty while opening the mouth or swallowing
 
You must get the treatment for a tooth abscess in place in order to get rid of the infection and protect and preserve the tooth. The abscess has to be drained out to eliminate infection; this is done by a procedure known as a root canal surgery. The other ways may include a tooth extraction or an incision into the swollen gum tissue to drain out the abscess. Antibiotics are prescribed by the dentist to help fight the infection and to prohibit the bacteria from spreading even more. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen are also prescribed to assuage the pain and swelling.

Dental care could greatly influence your toddler’s overall health. However, here are a few things that you need to do in order to prevent and treat tooth abscesses:

•    You must go for regular dental checkups to reduce the risk of infection in your child.

•    You must rinse and make your toddler gargle using warm salt water. A warm compress can be held against the swollen part of the jaw for quick relief.

•    You must use clove oil or powdered cloves and put it on or near the abscess in your child’s tooth. This may take more than one application.

•    You must ensure that your child flosses using a fluoride toothpaste after every meal and at bedtime.

•    You must decrease the frequency of serving sugary food to your child.

Submitted by P T on February 24, 2010 at 12:05

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