Extracting Abscessed Tooth

When a patient has severe decay or an infected tooth, they may notice the formation of a pus-filled pocket on the gums. This is a tooth abscess which can cause various symptoms such as a great deal of pain. In order to treat the issue, the dentist will often drain the abscess by making a small incision. Unfortunately, severe cases require removal of the tooth.

Dentists will exhaust all other options prior to extracting a tooth as preserving the natural tooth is the priority. It is common for patients to be curious how the tooth extraction will ultimately impact the abscess.

Extraction for an Abscess

Dentists will work diligently to preserve the patient’s natural tooth. In some cases, the only viable treatment option is to extract the tooth. When the tooth is damaged beyond repair, the only option is to completely remove the tooth. An abscess can indicate that damage has spread into the root. When this occurs, antibiotics and other treatment options are not effective solutions. Abscesses which are not promptly treated, can cause serious discomfort and consequences such as the spread of infection and bone loss.

Abscess After an Extraction

The abscess starts to heal following the removal of the tooth. The body starts to fight the infection and the pus pocket will gradually go away. The duration of the healing process will be determined by the size and severity of the abscess. It typically takes a few days to several weeks for the mouth to completely heal.

In order to prevent infection after an extraction, patients must properly care for the extraction site. Specific instructions will be provided by the oral surgeon or dentist. These instructions will include how to care for the extraction site, change the gauze, and keep the area clean.

In some cases, the dental professional will prescribe antibiotics to prevent further infection. Antibiotics are common with a large abscess, in cases of severe injection, or for patients with a weakened immune system. After the tooth is extracted, the mouth will heal.


While an abscess usually heals on its own after an extraction, there is a risk for complications. These complications are rare, but they are possible. Below are complications which can occur following the removal of a tooth:

1. Infection - Infections are rare, but the abscess can become infected again after the tooth is extracted. When the infection returns, it often results in pain, swelling, and other symptoms.

2. Dry socket - A dry socket occurs when a blood clot is dislodged or dissolves before the extraction site completely heals. A dry socket can be incredibly painful and cause delays in the healing process.

3. Nerve damage - It is possible for there to be damage to the nerves near the extraction site. Patients often experience numbness and tingling in the mouth or face when this occurs. In some cases these symptoms are temporary, however, they can also be permanent.

In order to avoid the risk of complications after an extraction, patients should closely follow the dental professional’s instructions. When the mouth is properly cared for, it aids in the healing process and prevents further infection. If patients experience any concerning symptoms after an extraction, they should follow up with their dentist immediately.

An abscess can be very painful. In severe cases, the tooth may need to be removed. Following the extraction of the tooth, the body starts to heal and the abscess disappears over time. There are excellent tooth-replacement solutions such as dental implants which can be used once the mouth has healed.

How Do I Know If I Have a Tooth Abscess