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.

2 moms found this helpful

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.

2 moms found this helpful

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

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