Last Updated on May 31, 2023 by Dr Gustavo Assatourians DDS
How to drain a tooth abscess at home
Dental abscesses are sometimes asymptomatic but they often impede swallowing, eating, or drinking. At the slightest change or movement in the mouth, there can be an intense, sharp pain. Abscesses do not usually appear suddenly; they form over time without our knowledge. Sometimes, we do not pay adequate attention to our oral health. So, is there a way on how to drain a tooth abscess at home?
What is a dental abscess?
A dental abscess is an accumulation of pus in localized areas in the mouth, most often in the tissues that support the tooth (both bone and gums), due to a bacterial infection. The causes are many and as a consequence, they can present periodontal diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
Types of dental abscess
- Periapical abscess: located at the tip of the root and below the tooth caused by untreated decay. It generates pain and inflammation.
- Gingival abscess: located on the edge of the gums, it generates inflammation. It can be red, swollen and sometimes it bleeds.
- Periodontal abscess: located between the bone and the gum, presenting pain and inflammation in the affected tissue.
Basic Symptoms of a Dental Abscess
An indicator of the presence of a dental abscess is a pain in the tooth when the temperature changes; it can become more intense when chewing, manifesting cheek swelling, or inflammation with localized heat. In serious cases, you may experience other symptoms such as:
- High fever
- Appearance of pus on the skin of the face
- Significant swelling of the face -more serious when the neck is affected
- Swelling of the tongue or under it
- Difficulty or inability to open the mouth
- Difficulty or inability to swallow
- Difficulty breathing
If some of these symptoms occur, it is best to go to the dentist or an emergency room to receive medical treatment and further instructions from a professional.
Why do dental abscesses occur?
A dental abscess occurs when bacteria from the mouth enter the pulp of the tooth, where the nerve is located. Therefore, it is painful and even dangerous since it is the deepest part of the tooth and contains blood vessels.
Bacteria can enter through a crack, fractured tooth, cavity, or tartar deposited at the base of the tooth and gum that remains for a long time. It is generally associated with a diet rich in sugars and carbohydrates, but also with a deficiency in oral hygiene.
On some occasions, although not frequent, an abscess can occur due to a weak immune system. The body is not capable of fighting bacteria from poor hygiene. It tends to manifest in patients with dry mouth such as xerostomia due to age, a health condition, or an adverse reaction to medications.
Is there a way how to drain a tooth abscess at home?
As described, an abscess is an infection that develops in the soft tissues that support the tooth that generates a sac of pus. It is not appropriate to try to drain an abscess at home. An abscess is in contact with blood vessels and we could spread the infection and related bacteria through the bloodstream, thereby reaching other organs. The drainage and treatment of an abscess must be carried out under aseptic conditions in a dental office by a specialist using the necessary tools to make the incision, clean the infected area, and suture it.
What home remedies can be done at home?
The home remedies cited below are adjuvant for managing the pain or other symptoms of the abscess. To eliminate and cure it, you must see a dentist or specialist who will indicate the most appropriate treatment.
Warm water compresses
It helps soften and drain the abscess on its own. It is applied directly to the abscess site by moistening a towel.
Helps control an infection and may eventually decrease inflammation. Apply a concentrated tea infusion with a cloth.
Salt and bicarbonate
Mix a tablespoon of salt and one of bicarbonate in a glass of water. You can use it as a rinse, holding it in the mouth for 30 seconds three times a day. You can also apply a cotton swab to the affected area to reduce inflammation and minimize infection.
Tea tree oil
In a glass of water, dilute a tablespoon of the oil. Apply it to the area or use it as a rinse 3 times a day to help heal the abscess, as long as the infection is not advanced.
Rinse with hydrogen peroxide
To help eliminate infection, mix a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide in a glass of water. Avoid swallowing as it is toxic. Gargle for a short time as it can affect tooth enamel.
Helps reduce pain and inflammation. Mix a tablespoon of water (15 ml) and a teaspoon of clove powder (5g), form a paste, and apply to the affected area 3 times a day, leaving it on for 15 minutes.
Apple cider vinegar
Prepare a rinse with 2 tablespoons of vinegar in a glass of water and gargle for approximately 5 minutes, repeated twice a day. It will help control the infection.
Turmeric and salt
Prepare a paste to apply to the affected area; let it act for 30 minutes before rinsing the mouth. Do this 3 times a day. Mix 2 tablespoons of turmeric, one salt, and one clove oil in a glass.
Apply a few drops of oregano oil on the affected area and leave for 20 minutes before rinsing with plenty of water. Repeat twice a day.
In a glass of water, mix 3 tablespoons of peppermint oil. Gargle and then rinse with water. Rinse daily and avoid consuming food or drinks for the next hour.
Boil 5 tablespoons of sesame seeds in a pot of water. Once boiling, remove the seeds to crush and form a paste. This paste should be applied to the abscess for 15 minutes. Rinse afterward with hot water. Daily rinsing or application can reduce swelling and pain.
How to prevent dental abscesses?
To avoid a dental abscess, practice the habit of good oral hygiene. This entails brushing at least 2 times a day for two minutes with toothpaste containing fluoride, complemented by regular visits to the dentist at least twice a day per year to perform teeth cleaning and identify any conditions that could affect oral health.
In this way, many gum diseases are prevented, and you can show off a healthy smile. However, it is important to have a balanced diet low in carbohydrates and sugars.
If you have any questions about this or other topics, you can contact us at Channel Islands Family Dental as well as our page on Facebook. We look forward to your visit and we will make a timely diagnosis. Our dentists in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, Newbury Park, and Port Hueneme will be able to guide you toward the best treatment to take care of your health and give you back your best smile.
- College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (June 03, 2020). Tooth Abscess. https://www.cdho.org/Advisories/CDHO_Factsheet_Dental_Abscess.pdf
- Mayo Clinic (Jun 29, 2022). Tooth Abscess. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tooth-abscess/symptoms-causes/syc-20350901
- The Nemours Foundation. Nemours Children’s Health (Mar, 2015). Abscess. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/abscess.html
- Semenovskaya, Z. (Jun 29, 2022). How to Drain a Tooth Abscess at Home. Khealth. https://khealth.com/learn/dental-infection/how-to-drain-a-tooth-abscess-at-home/
- Jay, K. (Aug 12, 2022). 10 Home Remedies for a Tooth Abscess. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/home-remedies-for-abscess-tooth
Duran, R. (Nov 13, 2021). What Is an Abscessed Tooth?. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/abscessed-tooth