If your child has ever had a dental abscess, or severe tooth infection, then they are probably familiar with its most common symptom, which is a severe toothache. While pain in the affected tooth is the most common sign of a pediatric dental abscess, there are other, less common signs. Here are three signs of a pediatric dental abscess that may surprise you and what you can do about them.
Unpleasant Taste In The Mouth
Because a dental abscess can turn into a purulent infection, your child may develop a bad taste in their mouth. A purulent infection is one that produces a pus-like drainage. If your child complains of a bad taste in their mouth, make an appointment with a kids dentist as soon as possible for further evaluation and antibiotic treatment.
If your child is prescribed antibiotics for a dental abscess, make sure that the entire course is completed. Failing to take all prescribed antibiotics may cause the infection to return.
In the meantime, ask your child to rinse out his or her mouth with a weak saltwater solution. This not only helps ease a toothache, it may also help draw out the infection. Salt is thought to have antimicrobial properties, however, it should not be a substitute for prompt dental treatment.
An untreated dental abscess can spread to your child's throat and tonsils. This can cause pain, swelling, redness, and infectious pockets to develop on one or both of the tonsils. If severe, the tonsils can swell to extent that they almost touch each other, potentially obstructing the airway.
If your child experiences a sore throat or tonsil pain that fails to resolve, see both the dentist and pediatrician to determine if the source of your child's symptoms are from an abscessed tooth..
Abnormal Facial Sensations
A dental abscess, especially one located on the top row, can damage one or more of your child's cranial nerves. One of the most commonly affected cranial nerves is the facial nerve. If this nerve becomes damaged or inflamed because of a severe tooth infection, your child may notice numbness, tingling, burning, or pricking sensations in the facial area. While these sensations often resolve once the infection has been treated, they may persist or even become permanent.
If your child experiences any of the above symptoms, take your child to a kids dentist as soon as possible. The sooner a dental abscess is recognized and treated, the less likely your child will be to develop complications such as permanent nerve damage, body-wide infection, or sensory problems.