Gum Abscesses in Children | A Guide for Parents

It is movie night, and you are sharing a bowl of popcorn with your child until you realize a tiny popcorn hull is stuck between their tooth and gum. It seems harmless at first, but it is not. That little irritant has the potential to lead to a gum abscess in children, which is a serious health concern. So, what can you do about it? What measures can you take? Let’s find out.

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    Gum Abscesses in Children and Their Warning Signs

    Children already have quite a lot on their plate, such as the growth of new teeth and occasional fickles in the immune system. An abscess typically originates as a cavity that expands from the gum and resembles a pimple. They may or may not have initial pain or swelling but an abscess near the lower teeth could impact the airway, causing breathing difficulties. On the other hand, those around upper teeth may transfer inflammation to their brain, potentially turning into a life-threatening situation.

    Fortunately, this does not happen without the appearance of warning signs. Oral pain and facial swelling act as clear-cut indicators. While dental abscesses in children are rare, the potential consequences need vigilance.

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    Is a Tooth Abscess a Dental Emergency?

    Yes. If you suspect your child has developed a tooth abscess, immediate action is necessary. Contact your pediatric dentist, providing details of the symptoms. If left untreated, a tooth abscess can spread, posing serious health risks.

    In certain extreme cases, it might even lead to life-threatening conditions such as brain abscesses or Ludwig’s angina. Some of the signs of urgency include:

    • Difficulty in breathing
    • Swallowing issues
    • Neck swelling
    • Severe facial swelling

    Identifying an Abscessed Tooth - Signs To Look Out For

    Recognizing an abscess growth in your child involves observing symptoms like:

    • Excruciating pain in the affected tooth, extending to other areas like surrounding teeth, the ear, neck, temple, or eyes.
    • Temperature sensitivity
    • Sensitivity to pressure on the affected tooth
    • Wiggly Tooth
    • Color change in the affected tooth (e.g., turning black)
    • Swelling and redness in the gums
    • Facial swelling
    • Swollen lymph nodes under the jaw or in the neck
    • Fever

    Treatment Options Available

    To address an abscess in your child’s gum and prevent its further spread, their dentist must remove the infected tissue. The severity of the case determines whether or not a root canal or tooth extraction is necessary. In cases of severe swelling where these procedures can’t be safely performed, antibiotics may be prescribed first. These control the infection and reduce swelling, enabling a later root canal or tooth extraction.

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    Closing Note

    Being alert to the changes happening in your children is crucial for their well-being. Timely action can prevent minor irritations from escalating into serious health issues. If you have more questions or comments regarding this issue, do not hesitate to get in touch with Dr. Aditi Gupta, board-certified by the American Board of General Dentistry at ACE Dental of Killeen. You can reach us at (254) 978-5926 to learn more about it.

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    ACE Dental of Killeen
    3650 West Stan Schlueter Loop Suite 160
    Killeen, TX 76549
    Phone: (254) 978-5926

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    We are dedicated to providing our patients with complete dental care, no matter the complexity of their needs. From regular exams and cleanings to more intricate treatments like crowns or root canals, we have the knowledge and equipment necessary for maintaining a healthy smile. Our offices are located all over town; come visit us today!

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