22 answers

5 Year Old with Small Abscess on Upper Gum

My son went for his 6 mo dental cleaning/check up today. He has had a small blister-like abscess on his upper gum for about 4-6 weeks. It is above a tooth that he hit several years ago. According to the hygienist, it was no big deal and his front tooth would soon be coming out anyway. The (very new, young) dentist took a look and said "I want to take that baby tooth out." I asked about other options and she finally agreed to give him amoxycillan and she drained it and told us to have him rinse with warm salt water several times per day. Her opinion is that the abscess may cause harm to the new large tooth coming in. I've never heard of this and the hygienist who worked for the now-gone older dentist seemed to poo-poo the whole idea.
This small bubble-type abscess is causing my son NO pain at all--or I would be inclined to have her take the tooth out.
Moms out there who have had experience with this kind of situation--what did you do--what do you think?

1 mom found this helpful

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I would get a second opinion from another dentist to be on the safe side. I did about 9 months ago when a dentist wanted to pull my 5 year old's tooth (not front). The new dentist agreed, but had different reasoning and explained more thoroughly. We ended up switching to him and are happier with/ have more confidence in the care we are receiving.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi, I have been a registered dental assistant for the past 19 years. Unfortunately the young dentist is correct. The tooth should come out. The abcess is from the nerve in the baby tooth dying. There is no pain because the INFECTION is draining through the gum. The INFECTION can cause harm to the permanent tooth if it is left there long enough. Unfortunately you don't know how long before the baby tooth falls out. Kids are tough and you can explain to him that he growing up and he will be one of the first in his class to loose his first tooth. The tooth fairy will always leave more for a tooth that has to be wiggled out by the dentist before falls out on it's own..As far as the amoxicillin, the infection will probably come back because the CAUSE is still there. Good luck, K.

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More Answers

Hi D.,
I am a general dentist and I see plenty of children with abcessed teeth. It is really important for this infection to be treated because the health of the adult tooth may be jeopardized. Your dentist is the one who should determine treatment, not the hygienist. However, if you don't really fell comfortable with this dentist, seek a 2nd opinion. Extracting an abscessed baby tooth is a proper treatment most of the time; since the tooth was injured before, the nerve inside has died and is now infected. Just using antibiotics is not a solution, since the infection will come right back. As far as the pain, I have seen kids with huge swellings who feel no pain. Also, because the tooth is draining, the infection has an "exit" , therefore, there would not be any pain.
Never feel badly for questioning a doctor's recommendation; your comfort with the dentist is most important.
Hope this helps, best of luck,
Dr. I.

3 moms found this helpful

I have not read any of the response to this post but I would definitely go with what your dentist says. He is the expert not the hygentist. Sometimes the younger doctors/dentists can be better at what they do because of new treatment methods, etc.
Either way, pulling out a baby tooth is NOTHING!!! Two of my children had to have teeth pulled because of an injury. It is really very simple. My son didn't even cry and he is usually a whiner.

3 moms found this helpful

I would't mistrust your dentist just because of her age.Sometimes young profesionals just recently out of school still have their training fresh in their minds, and usually have learned the newest techniques and latest medical advances that older professionals may not be up to date on.That said, though, I'd get a second opinion.

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Hi D.

My son has had two abcesses and to start they are not painful, but left untreated they do hurt. In each case we had his baby teeth removed, as they were crumbling and our dentist did tell us there is concern that the infection will reach the adult teeth. They do treat the infection first and a few days later remove the tooth. I would tend to listen to your dentist and not the hygienist. I always felt that you want to do what you can to prevent any damage to teeth that you hope your children will have for a long time:) Good luck.
C.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi, I have been a registered dental assistant for the past 19 years. Unfortunately the young dentist is correct. The tooth should come out. The abcess is from the nerve in the baby tooth dying. There is no pain because the INFECTION is draining through the gum. The INFECTION can cause harm to the permanent tooth if it is left there long enough. Unfortunately you don't know how long before the baby tooth falls out. Kids are tough and you can explain to him that he growing up and he will be one of the first in his class to loose his first tooth. The tooth fairy will always leave more for a tooth that has to be wiggled out by the dentist before falls out on it's own..As far as the amoxicillin, the infection will probably come back because the CAUSE is still there. Good luck, K.

2 moms found this helpful

It absolutly can cause damage to the tooth and bone if not cared for properly. An abscess can destroy the jaw bone as well as the tooth, so the tooth is important, but not the least of your worries!

Ps: your hygentist needs some education on oral care. Try not to let the age of your Dentist be superceeded by a person who has knowledge of cleaning and tooth structure, but is not a dentist!!!!

2 moms found this helpful

I assume you do not go to the same dentist as your son. If you have a trusted dentist then why not get their opinion. It could be sound medical advice or this new doctor might just be 'slimy'.

I don't know what it is lately but I have found too many dentists are either very honest or looking to pad their pockets at your expense. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of middle ground.

If you want a second opinion I recommend Dr. Mike LeDonne who is a pediatric dentist.

2 moms found this helpful

Did they x ray the tooth? I would insist on an x ray and if the tooth is infected, pain or no pain, it needs to be removed. It may be a little scary but it could take more time to fall out and cause more problems. Please take him back and have it double checked.

2 moms found this helpful

I would get a second opinion from another dentist to be on the safe side. I did about 9 months ago when a dentist wanted to pull my 5 year old's tooth (not front). The new dentist agreed, but had different reasoning and explained more thoroughly. We ended up switching to him and are happier with/ have more confidence in the care we are receiving.

2 moms found this helpful

I haven't had experience with this, but pulling the tooth seems like a drastic measure unless there is some evidence that it already is causing a problem. I do know that untreated infections in the mouth can spread through the blood stream and cause serious health problems. It seems like antibiotics should do the trick, however. Do you know another dentist you can talk to for a second opinion? Or maybe your son's peditrician can shed some light on the issue.

1 mom found this helpful

D.,
I have never had to deal with this situation before. It seems from reading your post that you do not feel comfortable with the decision to pull the tooth immediately. It seems as though you had conflicting opinions from the hygienist and dentist. It also appears as though your gut is telling you to trust the hygienist and you have hesitancy to trust the dentist. By noting that the dentist is new and young, it seems as though you do not have a relationship with her and feel as though she is inexperienced. I think that as moms we often feel pressure to do as the doctor or dentist says. I think it is best that you examine why your gut is telling you not to trust the dentist and then go and have a second opinion. Maybe it is no big deal and you need confirmation that it will heal on its own, or maybe you need to hear that something should be done immediately. Either way it can only help you and your son. It will also help you to further determine your opinion of your dentist.
There is no harm is getting another opinion. That is what I would do.
good luck,
A.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.,

My daughter is 6 and has an abscess over one of her teeth. My dentist who have have been going to since my son was a young child (now 16) gave me an antibotic for my daughter and did xrays and said he would rather treat it with an antibotic and once her permanent tooth comes in the abscess should hopefully go away. He stated that he did not want to pull her baby tooth because after viewing the xray, her permanent tooth was not ready to come down yet and if we were to remove it it would cause her other teeth to shift causing issues in the long run. He did say that he could put a spacer in place to prevent that but as long as she did not have any issues once taking the antibotic then it was no need. He did not drain the abscess, either.

1 mom found this helpful

Any type of infection or fever can damage the development of the tooth. My ds just had the same issue I have to take him to an oral surgeon to see if he needs to have it removed as well. He's had a lot of problems with his teeth. But because you have new teeth coming in soon it's best to get it taken care of quickly.
My oldest dd had a tooth that came out damaged and the dentist said that it was due to having a high fever during a time when it was developing. The enamel was missing in part of the front of it. This happens because when you have a fever that is high it sucks the calcium from the blood stream and it can cause defects in the teeth

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe you should get another opinion....Do not know where you are located but we finally found a great pediatric dentist...

1 mom found this helpful

I have worked with a kids only dentatl clinic for over two years as an assistant. From what Im reading your new dentist is saying everything the dentist I work for would say. And in my experience its only a matter of time before that abcess becomes very painful. It also could cause some damage to the adult tooth growing inside. An abcess is an infection and can get to the blood stream, which can get to the heart. So treat this seriously. It could become very bad soon if not treated. That would be to remove the baby tooth. Also your 5 year old isn't apt to get the new tooth until mabye 6 or 7 depending on when he started teething the first time (early or a late comer). I hope I didn't scare you. Kids get there teeth bonked all the time, it is not a suprise to our office to see something like this happen.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.,

This is simple to a fever blister on the lip.

It is a virus. Use whatever you use for a cold sore.

Hope this helps.

D.

1 mom found this helpful

Please have the abscess taken care of as soon as possible. I had a close friend have a heart attack (at a very young age) because he had a abscess tooth for so long and didn't take care of it. I don't know what the medical terminology is, but the infection traveled into his blood stream and caused this reaction. I don't mean to alarm you, but those things have to be treated immediately.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi

My 3 just turn 4 year old had the same problem.

We had the 2 front teeth extracted 2 months ago but he still has an abscess. The surgeon said he has never seen this before and is extremely rare. An x-ray shows the possibility of a small piece of tooth still left behind.

We have seen 2 surgeons and they both agree not to operate due to risk of damage to the adult teeth. He has had antibiotics but this has not made it better either.

Any dentists with experience of this please advise if the wait and see policy we are adopting is the best. He does not appear to be in pain.

Thanks

What a lucky little boy you have--- ( boys are so sweet -- they really do '''think Mom is kind of special''' in a way that is unique)

ENJOY

( and though I'm glad you got a ''''second opinion''--- I'm also glad it's coming out)

J.
aka- old mom

Hello D.,
I just went through this with my daughter about 2 months ago. She is now 7 and her dentist said she looked like she had an abscess and wanted to pull out the tooth within the next two weeks. Well I wasn't comfortable with that since there was nothing to be seen on her gum and nothing on the xray. Her tooth that was in the area is to be in place until about 12 yrs old. They said she would need a spacer for the time being. Anyway I did call another dentist and went in for a second opinion and they looked at the same xray and looked in her mouth and didn't believe she needed her tooth pulled. They suggested we just keep an eye on it and at every dental appointment they will check it. Good luck, it is very scary but you have to do whats best. If both dentist wanted me to pull it I would have and I did prepare her for that when we went for the second opinion.

my daughter had no abscess on her tooth but the baby tooth was starting to turn greay so today they took her tooth out and now i feel like i dont the wrong thing. my mom was reading about it and it said that they should leave it and it will come out on its own. they are just trying to make money off of you by taking out the tooth and now she will not have a new O. in there for about 6 months to a year. i feel so bad and regret it. now she has to walk around with a space there.

Not to scare you...but you need to have this "bubble" like abscess above the loose tooth (which is a "dead" tooth because of the abscess or a cavity/tooth decay that was left unfound/untreated)...REMOVED IMMEDIATELY! I just went through this with my 5 year old son. I took him to the best specialist and dentist money can buy. This abscess infection can spread and if it enters his bloodstream it can be fatal. Everyday is a possible day that this could turn into a very scary situation. Children can die from an abscess or infection that spreads. The only cure for this is....having the loose tooth extracted/pulled, removing and draining the abscess/cyst, and rinsing with salt water often after the preocedure is done. Your child may also need antinbiotics to completely flush the infection from his body. This will definitely NOT go away on it's own!

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