My kid had a bump on his gum that looked like a very hard sore. So, I asked my dad, who’s been a nurse for 30 years, what he thought it was and he said it was just a sore. “It should go away in a few days,” he said. But it turned out to be much more than a sore and something we should absolutely NEVER ignore.

My husband, who is not at all in the medical field, recognized that it was an abscess right away. I didn’t even know it was a thing! So after a good scare, I learned a few things:

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What is an abscessed tooth?

An abscess is usually a pocket of pus caused by infection. It could be found on any part of the body and is usually a helpful sign of infection. When it’s found in the mouth, it’s often the gums and the teeth that are at risk. And if it’s not treated, it can cause significant damage to the jaw and/or the brain.

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My son came to me with this bump on a Monday. The Saturday before, my husband took a picture of him, which we thought was quite cute. Neither of us paid any attention until I thought about zooming into the picture that showed his gums. That’s when I realized he already had the abscess.

Of course, being the freak mom that I am, I need to Google and ask my family of nurses just how dangerous this abscess can be. My brother, who works at the ER in one of the hospitals in Anaheim, CA says people have gone to the emergency room for a high fever caused by an abscess before. The infection can travel to the brain.

The last reported case of a child actually who actually died from an abscessed tooth was in 2007 when a 12-year-old boy had an abscessed tooth due to a molar.

What are the symptoms of an abscessed tooth?

My son only had one of the following symptoms that can take place when an abscessed tooth occurs:

  • Fever
  • Severe toothache that feels as if the pain is going all the way to the jaw or the neck and ear area
  • The feeling of bad taste or smell of salty fluid in the mouth
  • Swelling in the face or cheeks

My son had a fever of 102.7 late the Thursday night before. I gave him some Tylenol and the fever disappeared and didn’t come back. So I’m assuming that was probably the abscessed tooth doing its magic.

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Why going to the dentist is a GREAT idea

I would never have known my son had an abscessed tooth if he didn’t come to me and ask what the bump was. He didn’t feel any pain at all so it was really easy to miss. But it could possibly have gone completely wrong if neither us paid any attention to it.

Now, we don’t know exactly what caused the abscessed tooth, but

Going to the dentist on a regular basis could keep you from worrying less. You would have a professional looking into your child’s mouth so you don’t have to do all the guessing. I mean, come on, we all know how scary it is to Google a diagnosis that tells us we’ve only got 6 months to live!

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When in doubt, don’t immediately freak out!

When I found this abscess in my son’s mouth, I nearly rushed him to the emergency room. He had no fever, but because of all the scary things I found on the internet, I was convinced the infection was going to travel to his brain while he slept. My husband had to calm me down and I had to figure out how to exercise that God-given gift we all have in us — patience.

The next day, we rushed off to the dentist and the doctor showed no signs of panic at all. So she prescribed some antibiotics for my son to take for 7 days and all was going to be well! Of course, he needed extractions a week later, but that’s a whole different story!

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Last update on 2018-04-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API