Treating Dental Abscesses In Children

If your child has a dental abscess, you will need to see a pediatric dentist as soon as possible. A dental abscess is a severe tooth infection, and if it's not treated quickly, complications such as a systemic infection may develop. Here are some treatment options your child's pediatric dentist may recommend to treat a dental abscess. 

Oral Antibiotics

After the dentist cleans out the infected debris inside your child's tooth, he or she may prescribe a course of oral antibiotics, which may be used in conjunction with an antimicrobial mouthwash or simply as a primary standalone treatment. It is essential that your child finish his or her entire course of antibiotics to help ensure that the infection effectively resolves. It is important to note that certain antibiotics used in dental practices, such as doxycycline, can lead to significant side effects. These may include nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.

The dentist may recommend that your child consume yogurt containing certain active cultures to help reduce the incidence of gastrointestinal problems. If your child is unable to tolerate yogurt, an over-the-counter probiotic product can be used instead. While doxycycline is often the antibiotic of choice in the treatment of a dental abscess, if your child cannot tolerate its side effects, another antibiotic such as amoxicillin can typically be used instead. 


If your child's dental abscess is severe and if the infection is in a baby tooth, the dentist may recommend extraction. Extracting a permanent tooth may be more concerning than extracting a baby tooth because the other teeth may shift out of place  after removing a permanent tooth because of the empty space left by the extraction. Because a permanent tooth will replace the extracted baby tooth, shifting of the other teeth is not as likely to happen.

Extracting an abscessed primary tooth may also be a better option for children who are allergic to antibiotics or for those who experience severe side effects from taking antibiotics. If your child suffers from dental anxiety and is fearful of having his or her tooth pulled, the dental staff can offer the pediatric patient earphones to listen to soothing music, or if anxiety is severe, dental sedation might be recommended.

If your child complains of a throbbing toothache, or if he or she notices any drainage coming from the soft tissue surrounding a tooth, make an appointment with a pediatric dentist. When prompt treatment is implemented, your child will be less likely to experience abscess-related complications such as permanent gum tissue damage or systemic infection.