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Protecting All Children's Teeth (PACT): A Pediatric Oral Health Training Program
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Abscess, continued
Symptoms of an Abscess
Patients with abscesses may present with the following symptoms:
Abscess: A localized collection of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue.
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Periorbital edema or pain
  • Cranial nerve abnormalities.

This infection can be life-threatening and must be addressed emergently.

Abscess Treatment
First-line empiric antibiotic therapy for dental abscesses is penicillin or amoxicillin and clindamycin for penicillin-allergic patients.

Suspicion of a dental abscess requires urgent referral to a dentist for definitive care.

Efforts must be made to locate the site of infection, incise and drain the pus collection, and collect a specimen for culture and sensitivities.

An abscessed tooth often must be extracted. Antibiotic therapy is also required, especially in cases of contiguous spread of the infection.

 
Fast Facts
 
Rarely, the spread of a dental abscess can lead to cavernous sinus thrombosis.
 
Dental abscess flora is usually mixed, with anaerobes predominating.
 
All dental abscesses should be incised and drained.
 
All dental abscesses require referral to a dentist for definitive care of the infected tooth.
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