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Dental Abscess


A dental abscess is a collection of pus in or around a tooth.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have severe pain.
  • Your symptoms get worse, even after treatment.
  • Your mouth is bleeding.
  • You cannot eat or drink because of pain or swelling.
  • You have trouble breathing because of pain or swelling.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your abscess returns.
  • You have an injury that causes a crack in your tooth.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


The following medicines may be ordered by your healthcare provider:

  • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen decreases pain and lowers a fever. They are available without a doctor's order. Ask your primary healthcare provider which medicine is right for you. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Read all medicine labels and follow directions.
  • Antibiotics help treat a bacterial infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Mouth care:

Brush your teeth or rinse your mouth after you eat, and before you go to sleep. Gently brush your teeth and gums using a brush with soft bristles. See your dentist for regular check-ups.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.