Surgical Incision and Drainage for Dental Abscesses

If you’re experiencing symptoms linked to a dental abscess, you should see your dentist immediately — be it a periapical, periodontal, or a gingival abscess. Dental infections like tooth abscess need an immediate treatment from your dentist to avoid further complications. Treatment for an abscess may require root canal surgery, tooth extraction, or surgical incision and pus drainage.

In this article, we are going to discuss the common treatment for dental abscesses: the surgical incision and drainage.

What is Surgical Incision and Drainage?

The surgical incision and drainage refer to the procedure to treat a dental abscess by cutting open a small portion of your gum (incision) to drain the pus from the abscess. For an acute dental abscess with swelling and sharp pain, your dentist may proceed with the surgical incision and drain the abscess. However, for severe and life-threatening cases, your dentist may require hospital admission. Your dentist might even suggest further necessary treatment to prevent tooth abscess from recurring.

Most patients usually don’t want to undergo surgical incision and drainage due to the pain associated with it, but it’s not always the case. After the incision is done and the pus is drained out, you will feel immediate relief; the pus will no longer press the surrounding nerve of your tooth which is the cause of the pain. The gum and tooth will start healing by itself after removing the pus which causes the infection due to the bacteria that comes with it.

How is abscessed tooth diagnosed?

If an infection becomes too painful, seeing the dentist should always be a priority. Your dentist will ask you symptoms and will look for swelling and other signs of infections in your mouth. Your dentist might advise you to take dental X-rays and use other dental instruments. After then, your dentist will suggest available abscess tooth treatments.

How is it done?

The dentist will inject you with a local anesthetic solution around the tissue area to numb it. This will be done before the whole surgical incision starts. The incision is usually performed with a scalpel, which directed to the most swollen area in your gum. Once the area is cut open (incised), the pus will drain out, and it’s left open to continue draining.