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Dental Abscesses and Swelling

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Dental abscesses are pus-filled swellings caused by infection inside a tooth, infection of the gum (common with periodontitis) and/or trauma to the tooth. Abscesses are often painful, but not always. Dental abscesses can cause facial swelling and/or enlarged lymph glands. In rare cases, dental abscesses can cause more widespread infection and may be life threatening. For dental abscesses:

• Control moderate pain with over-the-counter pain medication. Take this in the usual way and do not apply the medication to the abscess itself.
• Use cold compresses to help control swelling.
• A dental professional may prescribe antibiotics to reduce infection, however, antibiotics will not remove the source of infection.
• Seek prompt dental treatment. An abscess will not heal itself, and antibiotics will not fix the problem.