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Avatar universal

tooth abscess and swollen cheek

i have a couple of questions about abscesses. last week i developed an abcsess in my tooth. my cheek became very swollen. the doctor said the infection from the abscess had passed from my tooth into my cheek. they put me on keeflex. within 24 hours about 60% of the swelling in my cheek had subsided. i am now on day 6 of a 10 days worth of the keeflex. my questions are how exactly does the infection from the abscess get into your cheek and even though i am now on day 6 of my medication there is still some swelling in my cheek that feels hard to the touch. all the pain from the infection as been gone for some days now and i did notice a little more improvement in the cheek today, but how long should it take for the swelling to completely go away?
50 Responses
540545 tn?1377626518
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
The abscess you speak of can spread through the facial spaces in your head.  My guess to your situation would be that a dental infection started in your tooth and has spread from the pulp of the tooth into the jaw bone.  From the jaw bone, it has broken through the jaw and is now spreading through the soft tissue (muscles, skin, etc) and spreads out to wherever there is space to grow.  

The antibiotics should be completely finished.  

Is your doctor bringing you back for further treatment?  Antibiotics only help to keep the infection from spreading and to reduce the swelling but it does not solve the underlying dental problem.

Avatar universal
yes they do plan further treatment. i was told that i need to get all the infection cured up first though. so my concern was that it showed such a dramatic improvement in the first 24/48 hours. what i refer to as the "infection" pain has been gone for several days. what i'm left with now is still some minimal but noticable swelling to my cheek that feels hard and has a "bruised" feeling to it. it does still feel warm to the touch which i was always taught is a sign there is still an infection present. i do of course plan to finish all 10 days worth of my antibiotics but i'm just wondering how much longer it should take for the last bit of infection to clear completely out of my cheek and it go back to it's normal shape.

Avatar universal
i think, what i want to know most also is. besides taking my antibiotic, ibuprofen, and cold packs to help inflamation. is there also anything else i can be doing to aid in healing and reduce swelling?
540545 tn?1377626518
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Sounds like you're doing fine.  The swelling may not resolve for awhile because you still have an active source of infection due to a bad tooth I assume.  Once the tooth it out, the swelling should probably be gone in a week or so.

662085 tn?1331349160
I have two abscess but not the money to pay for the surgery what can i do? I took antibotics and got ride of the infecttion to spread but its still there and im worried
1 it will cont to grow till my jaw bone is weakend and brakes
2 i dont have the thousands of dollars for the procude any way
3 no insurance will cover the procidure i  can try and get money back but they want the full pay up front and i just dont have that kind of money in my back pocket.
540545 tn?1377626518
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
The antibiotics do help keep the infection in check but once the antibiotics are stopped, the infection may continue to grow.  

1) Yes, it is very well possible that the abscess may grow within the jaw and weaken the jaw.  I haven't seen a broken jaw due that before but it can spread within the jaw bone and cause extensive damage.  Another more likely scenario is that the abscess will escape the jaw bone and spread to the soft tissue of the head which is extremely dangerous.  It can spread down the neck and cause breathing problems or spread to the spaces near the brain.

2) I'm not familiar with your financials but you may want to contact your local dental society and see if there are any resources available for your situation.  They may be able to refer you to a dentist who may do it for low/free or a clinic in which these services are provided for people with financial difficulty.  But generally, the most likely scenario is to extract these teeth.

Hope that helps.  I would strongly encourage you to seek treatment as soon as possible since those complications can occur at anytime.  

662085 tn?1331349160
Thank-you for the help and i will try
540545 tn?1377626518
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Best of luck.  Hope everything turns out well.

Avatar universal
Wow, this is a great online service.  I have an abscessed tooth and am taking amoxicillin.  Two questions:

1.  The dentist can't fit me in for a root canal for 30 more days.  Is it safe to wait so long?

2.  My cheek is very swollen, even though I'm taking antibiotics.  (Today's my second day.)  It didn't become swollen until I started the antibiotics.  It's putting slight pressure on my eye. Is there reason for concern?

I tried calling the dentist but the receptionist wouldn't let me talk to him and said not to worry;  however, she's not a medical professional!

I appreciate your providing this service.
540545 tn?1377626518
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hi!

The amoxicillin should work fine in reducing the spread of infection and reducing any swellings that may occur.  Its a little bit more odd that the swelling occured after the antibiotic treatment and not before.  It does take a few days for the antibiotics to work and as long as the swelling doesn't worsen on day 3 to 4 on the antibiotics, it should be fine.  If it doesn't work and the swelling gets worse, you should see a dentist and get treatment as well as change the antibiotics.  It may be that the bacteria you have in your mouth is resistant to the antibiotics.

As for waiting thirty days, it does seem a bit longer than usual.  Has any treatment been started on it?  Or did he/she just prescribe the antibiotics?
701664 tn?1228445569
Hi,
Thank you for this website!

I am 1st year Dental Hygiene student. We were taking pano on each other and I noticed that I had a radiolucent area around the apex of tooth #19. This tooth had root canal done 3 years ago and I got a nice crown on it too. I visited my dentist regurlaly. I had no pain or discomfort prior to the pano that we took on Nov 18. Since then, I visited my dentist and he told me it is an abscess. I started the Amoxicillin on monday, I also noticed that I had a throbbing pain since last sunday.Well...I believed that it was in my head because I had no pain before I looked at the radiograph. Pain got worst yeasterday and I noticed that my cheek strated to swell. It is horrible all night long. I called endodontis in the morning and he retreated the tooth. I look like a chipmunk now but NO PAIN:).
Well my question are:
1.Why it started to hurt now??? Did I do something to agitate it? This abscess was visible on pano that was taken in Febr.
2.Is there any home remedies for swelling?

Thank YOU!
540545 tn?1377626518
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Sometimes with a root canal and abscess, it can be treated and leave a radiolucency in the area.  As long as there are no symptoms, we generally keep an eye on it and make sure that it doesn't enlarge in size.  Sometimes these area will scar and leave a permanent radiolucency.

I would guess that the endodontic treatment did not sufficiently clean the canal.  The infection from the bacteria may have been quite extensive and it was difficult to remove all bacteria from the canals or a canal might have been possibly missed. Also, with the anatomy of the canals, its possible you have lateral canals, canals that split, etc which make cleaning it out difficult.  

As for the swelling, the antibiotics and time will take care of it.  If theres a fistula (lil gum boil), sometimes warm salt water will help pull the pus out of the abscess.  Otherwise, your dentist can perform an incision and drainage but I wouldn't recommend that route at all.  The root canal was done and everything should be fine now.

Good luck with hygiene school!   Maybe I'll see you at some ADA functions.  Best wishes.
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