Know These Signs that Your Child Might Have a Dental Abscess

Posted on: 30 November 2016

Dental abscesses, or dental infections, occur when bacteria collects within or around a tooth and causes an infection. Though rare in children, they can still occur, and children can be much worse than adults at spotting them. Even if your child does think that something is wrong, they might avoid mentioning anything through fear of being taken to the dentist.

Unfortunately, the infection from a tooth can spread to the surrounding teeth, gums and bone. Pay attention to the following points so you are able to recognise the signs of an abscess.


As you might imagine, toothache is one of the most common signs of an infection, and it tends to become quite severe. Your child may report a very slight ache at first, and then find that the pain becomes increasingly worse. This is a sign of the infection spreading, and it may radiate to the neck, ears and jaw. If your child makes any complaints of a toothache, take them to the dentist.

Facial Swelling

Though toothache is one of the symptoms that may occur due to infection, it isn't a universal sign. If there is no pain, the first sign you might get that anything is wrong is a slight swelling of the face. You might notice that your child's face seems a little puffier to one side. If so, feel around the glands of the neck and along the upper and lower jaw.  When you look inside the mouth, the side of the face where swelling is evident could also contain gums that seems swollen or yellowish.


As with any kind of infection, an abscess can cause a fever. This is due to the fact that your body will be producing antibodies to try and fight the infection as it spreads. A fever caused by an oral infection is likely to present an elevated temperature and confusion, though vomiting is rare.

Darkened Tooth

One of the ways an infection can occur, particularly in children, is from trauma. If a tooth is knocked hard, it's possible for the blood flow to that tooth to be prevented. When this occurs, blood and nutrients won't be able to reach the nerve of that tooth, and it will become 'dead', or 'non-vital'.  As a result, bruising will occur within the tooth, making it slightly discoloured. Should you notice that one of your children's teeth is darker than those surrounding it, the tooth might be dead, in which case an infection is likely to develop.

For more information, contact local professionals like Andrew Baderski Dental.