When tooth decay infects the nerve of a tooth, it is called an abscess.  If the infection or abscess is not treated, it may spread to the bone or other teeth or become a life threatening bacterial infection.


If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, please contact our office immediately:

  • Pain in the tooth or jaw
  • Favoring one side to chew or not wanting to eat tough foods
  • Swollen areas of the gum, neck or jaw
  • A bubble or pimple on the gum near the infected tooth
  • Fever
  • Bad breath even if the child just brushed their teeth

Treating an abscess

If a baby tooth has abscessed, it is usually extracted since it will be replaced with a permanent tooth at some point.  A space maintainer may be used so the teeth on either side don’t drift into the extraction site, which could cause crowding around the erupting permanent tooth.


If it is a permanent tooth, the doctor will most likely perform a root canal to preserve the remaining tooth structure. Depending on the extent of the abscess, an antibiotic may be prescribed to prevent the infection from spreading.


Tooth Abscess Prevention

Preventing a dental abscess is as simple as maintaining a regular in-office dental exam and cleaning schedule and helping your child develop an excellent home care routine which includes brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day and limiting excess sugar (including fruit juices).

father holding a happy toddler boy upside down

Request an Appointment

Take the first step toward achieving a beautiful, healthy smile.

If you are experiencing pain, especially pain that is growing worse over time, please call our office at (425) 392-4600, option 4, or text (425) 392-4600 for assistance in booking your appointment. We will be happy to assist you in finding a time to visit our office as soon as possible and do anything we can to help.