Tooth abscessed

An abscessed tooth isn't good news for anyone, and being pregnant provides for no exception.

An abscess starts when a cracked tooth or deep cavity allows bacteria to enter the tooth's soft core (dental pulp), causing an infection. Pus builds up at the root tip of the tooth, located in the jawbone, and forms a pocket of pus — the abscess. An abscess can damage the bone around the tooth as well as lead to a general infection.

■ Prevention and self-care for an abscessed tooth

An abscessed tooth always requires skilled dental care. The only self-care is prevention by routine dental hygiene and preventive dental care. Preventive dental care is especially important during pregnancy, as oral changes seem to speed up the progress of dental disease. For tips on good dental hygiene, see also Gum disease.

■ Medical care for an abscessed tooth

If you have pain in your tooth or jaw or signs of an infection, such as a fever, call your dentist. A root canal will probably be needed to treat an abscessed tooth, and you may be given an antibiotic. If you need to have major dental work done during pregnancy, talk to both your dentist and your health care provider about any special precautions that should be taken. Never delay your care because of the pregnancy.

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