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What to do if a Dental Abscess Bursts on its Own (4 Tips)

What to do if a Dental Abscess Bursts on its Own

Has it ever happened to you where seemingly out of nowhere, a dental abscess bursts on its own? If your answer is ‘yes’, you’re far from alone. This can be an alarming experience, and knowing precisely what to do if a dental abscess bursts on its own is crucial for pain management and to prevent further complications.

In this blog, we will walk you through the immediate steps to take, the importance of seeking professional dental care, and how to prevent future occurrences.

So, stick with us as we explore this widely experienced, yet rarely discussed dental health issue.

What is a Dental Abscess?

A dental abscess, a common issue in dentistry, is an infection that forms near a tooth, often in the gum or jawbone. It usually arises due to untreated tooth decay or gum disease, leading to a pocket of pus accumulating in the affected area. This condition can cause unpleasant symptoms like throbbing pain, fever, or swelling, making it imperative to see a dentist for treatment.

When a dental abscess bursts, it releases the accumulated pus, potentially spreading the bacterial infection further.

While this might provide temporary relief, the underlying cause remains untreated, increasing the risk of developing further complications.

According to a study published in the Journal of Oral Microbiology, dental abscesses are a significant public health concern due to their high prevalence and potential to lead to severe infections if not treated promptly.

The study emphasizes the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups to prevent such dental problems.

So, what should you do if a dental abscess bursts on its own? Stay calm, rinse your mouth with a lukewarm saline solution, and schedule an emergency dental appointment immediately.

Remember, a burst abscess is a dental emergency that requires professional dental care.

Causes of Dental Abscess

It’s essential to understand the causes behind dental abscesses to maintain proper oral health and prevent such problems.

Below are some of the key causes of dental abscesses:

  1. Tooth Decay: One of the primary causes of dental abscesses is tooth decay. If a cavity isn’t treated promptly, bacteria can infiltrate the tooth, leading to an abscessed tooth.
  2. Gum Disease: Also known as periodontal disease, this issue can cause gum abscesses. Bacteria can seep into the spaces between your teeth and gums, creating an abscess.
  3. Dental Procedures: Sometimes, dental procedures can inadvertently lead to an abscess if bacteria enter the pulp of the tooth.
  4. Physical Trauma: A chipped or broken tooth can provide an entry point for bacteria, leading to a tooth abscess.
  5. Weak Immune System: People with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to infections, including dental abscesses.
  6. Poor Dental Hygiene: Poor oral health practices, such as not brushing or flossing regularly, can lead to the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth. It will increase the risk of developing dental abscesses.
  7. Consumption of Sugary Foods: High sugar consumption can contribute to tooth decay, one of the leading causes of dental abscesses. Bacteria in the mouth thrive on sugars and produce acids that erode the tooth enamel, leading to cavities and, eventually, abscesses.
  8. Cracked Tooth: A cracked or broken tooth can provide an entry point for bacteria, leading to an abscess.
  9. Smoking or Tobacco Use: Smoking or using tobacco products can damage your teeth and gums, making you more susceptible to dental abscesses.

These are some of the major causes of dental abscesses and if remain untreated they cause more severe damage to your teeth. Hence, maintaining good oral hygiene practices like regular brushing, flossing, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash can go a long way in preventing dental abscesses.

Symptoms of Dental Abscess that can Bursts on its Own

Recognizing the symptoms of a dental abscess can help you seek dental care promptly and prevent complications.

Here are some key signs that you may have a dental abscess that can burst on its own and make the condition worse if remain untreated:

  1. Throbbing Pain: One of the most noticeable symptoms of a dental abscess is a throbbing pain in the affected area. This pain can be intense and may extend to the jawbone, neck, or ear.
  2. Swelling and Redness: The area around the abscess may become swollen and red. If the abscess is in the gum, you might notice a gum abscess or “gum boil” – a swollen, pus-filled bump on your gum.
  3. Fever: A fever or an unusually high temperature may indicate that your body is fighting an infection, such as a dental abscess.
  4. Sensitivity to Hot and Cold: You may experience increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages, as well as an increased sensitivity when biting or chewing.
  5. Bad Taste in the Mouth or Bad Breath: As the abscess ruptures and pus drains into your mouth, you may notice an unpleasant taste or persistent bad breath.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s imperative to see a dentist immediately. They will be able to drain the abscess, treat the bacterial infection, and provide proper care to prevent further dental problems.

What to do if a Dental Abscess Bursts on its Own?

If a dental abscess bursts on its own, immediate action is crucial to prevent further complications. An unexpected burst can be alarming, but knowing what to do next can make a significant difference in your oral health.

Below are the tips recommended by Dr. Pathik Shah, a leading and best dentist in Philadelphia at Prime Dentistry you can follow to manage the condition:

Tip 1: Act Immediately

First, remain calm. A burst abscess can be an emergency dental condition, but immediate relief from pressure might make you feel better temporarily. However, this doesn’t mean the underlying cause is resolved. When an abscess pops, it releases pus—a pocket of bacteria—that can spread the infection further.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, then rinse your mouth with a lukewarm saline solution.

Mix one teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water for this. Saline water rinses help clean the area and soothe irritation.

Tip 2: Seek Dental Care

Don’t delay—schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately. This is a dental emergency that needs prompt attention.

Even if the abscess has drained, you still may experience residual pain, and the bacterial infection needs professional treatment.

Your dentist will assess the situation, clean the affected area, and drain any remaining pus if necessary.

They may prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection. Your dental expert also may recommend a root canal treatment or tooth extraction depending on the severity of the infection of the tooth.

Tip 3: Maintain Oral Hygiene

While waiting for your dental appointment, continue to maintain good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth gently, floss regularly, and use an antimicrobial mouthwash.

Avoid hot or cold foods that may irritate the abscessed area and stick to soft foods to prevent further damage.

Tip 4: Use Home Remedies

In addition to maintaining dental hygiene, you can manage pain and swelling at home by following the below home remedies –

  • Cold Compress: Apply a cold compress to the affected area to reduce pain and swelling. Wrap ice in a clean cloth and hold it against your cheek over the abscessed area for about 15 minutes.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse: A rinse with a mild hydrogen peroxide solution (3%) can help kill bacteria and relieve some discomfort. Mix equal parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and warm water, swish around the mouth for about 30 seconds, then spit it out.
  • Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: While waiting for your emergency dental appointment, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or anti-inflammatories to manage the pain.

Prevention is Key

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Regular dental check-ups can identify potential dental problems early, reducing the risk of developing a dental abscess.

A burst dental abscess is a serious issue that requires immediate attention. Always seek dental care promptly to treat the infection, alleviate pain, and prevent further complications.

Your oral health is imperative, so take it seriously and give it the proper care it deserves.

If you’re in North-East Philadelphia and find yourself in a dental emergency, don’t hesitate to reach out to Prime Dentistry. We are a highly recommended by locals and the best dental clinic near you.

We’re here to help you fight the infection and get back to your best oral health.


Dr. Pathik Shah

Dr. Shah, a skilled dentist with advanced training in implant dentistry and full mouth rehabilitation, servers as a commissioned officer in the US Army. He's dedicated to providing comprehensive dental care offering prompt treatment to his patients.

Dr. Pathik Shah

Dr. Pathik Shah

Dr. Shah, a skilled dentist with advanced training in implant dentistry and full mouth rehabilitation, servers as a commissioned officer in the US Army. He's dedicated to providing comprehensive dental care offering prompt treatment to his patients.

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