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What is treatment for a dental abscess?

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Treatment for dental abscesses is always aimed at eliminating the infection that is the source of the abscess. If the abscess is diagnosed early in its development and has yet to spread beyond its original tooth, then a simple root canal is often enough to cure it. If the infection has spread, however, antibiotics may be prescribed to control it, according to Mayo Clinic.

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A dental abscess is the result of an infection that has grown at the root of a tooth, explains Mayo Clinic. This is usually the result of a tooth fracture or untreated cavity admitting bacteria to deep inside the gums. This infection causes swelling and, in the tight spaces under a tooth, a great deal of pain.

Sometimes, when the infection develops an external abscess that's visible against the gums, a dentist can treat it with an incision to drain it, followed by a saline rinse to clean it. An abscess that is confined to the root of the tooth, according to Mayo Clinic, may only be treatable with a root canal. If the affected tooth has suffered too much damage to save, an extraction may be indicated. In all cases, the dentist is likely to prescribe antibiotics and pain relief.

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