Gum boil in children [The ultimate guide for parents]
Gum boil in children or children’s gingival abscess is pus that is formed inside your children’s gum or at the root of the tooth. It is caused by bacterial infection that comes from the tooth decay, food residues stuck inside the gum tissue, or non treated gingivitis. The pus puts pressure on the gum tissue, causing your child severe pain and inflammation, especially when he chews.
A gum boil in children is a serious infection that requires to be treated as soon as possible to avoid infection spreading to other parts of the body.
Types of dental abscess
According to the NHS, dental abscess has 3 types:
– Gingival abscess: it is a collection of pus that is formed in the gingiva near the crown of the tooth and it is often due to food residues or untreated Gingivitis, it is also known as “gum boil”.
– Periodontal abscess: It is a collection of pus inside the periodontal socket, it usually occurs if you have periodontitis, so it is rare among children.
– Peri-apical abscess: a deep Tooth decay or fractured tooth can cause the necrosis of the tooth pulp and therefore a collection of pus is formed at the tip of the root.
Symptoms of gum boil in children
A gum boil in children can cause severe pain, especially if you apply pressure on it. The pain is often spontaneous and the swallowing on the gums makes it easier to spot. But sometimes it might include these other symptoms:
-Eye, ear, jaw, neck pain: even if the gum boil is in a small area, the pain can propagate to your child’s eye, ear, jaw and neck. So if your kid has pain in these areas and you didn’t think of checking his gums, make sure to do that.
-Face swelling: face and cheek swelling is a very common symptom of dental abscess. It means that the infection is beginning to spread and it might even be an Cellulitis so you shouldn’t wait any longer to visit your dentist.
-Halitosis: In many occasions, the bacteria and pus might cause a permanent bad breath. Read more about Halitosis.
-Swollen gums: your kid’s gums might be swollen, red, shiny, and bleeding.
-Sensitivity to cold, hot food and drinks.
-The child has difficulties opening the mouth and swallowing.
-Pain at night while trying to sleep.
-Swelling in the neck nymph nodes.
Causes of gum boil in children
In general, abscess is caused by bacteria that attacks the gum and bone and tooth tissues, then creates pus and infection.
This bacteria can come from:
-Poor oral hygiene: Children tend to eat many sugar products and brush less. Teeth, when not brushed, will gather bacteria. If your child is less than 6 years old,
try to assist them in brushing their teeth and make sure that they brushed properly.
Deep tooth decay: Teeth decay is full of bacteria, once it reaches the pulp tissue, this bacteria will cause severe pain and propagate to the bone and infect it.
Gum disease: Gingivitis and Periodontitis are caused by food leftovers and bacteria that will infect your gingival tissue.
A broken tooth: if a tooth breaks after an accident, it might cause pulp necrosis and therefore an abscess.
How to prevent dental abscess in children
-Visit your dentist regularly: Children can visit the dentist even at early ages, performing check ups every 6 months will help diagnosing problems at early stages. And also your kids will learn to visit dentists regularly.
-Brush your teeth using a fluoride toothpaste 3 times a day to prevent teeth decay and gum disease.
–Use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to clean between your teeth on a daily basis.
–Eat healthy food, limiting sugary items and between-meal snacks.
Treatment for gum boil in children
Dental abscesses are treated by removing the source of the infection and draining away the pus manually or prescribing antibiotics.
The treatment changes depending on the origin of the gum boil:
Peri-apical gum boil
-Root canal treatment: A procedure of removing the abscess from the root of an affected tooth before cleaning it, filling and sealing it. It is performed for
mature, permanent teeth only. This procedure can be a little difficult for children because they need to open their mouth for several minutes per session. It is only indicated if the tooth is restorable. If the child is not cooperating, doing it under gas anesthesia is a must to avoid any complications.
-Tooth extraction: if the tooth is too damaged to be restored, or it’s a resorbed milk tooth, the treatment will be to extract the tooth.
Periodontal and gingival gum boil
Periodontal abscess is usually treated by:
Teeth scaling: A teeth scaling is very helpful in cleaning the periodontal tissues from the bacteria and draining the pus away.
Removal of the foreign object: If your abscess is caused by a foreign object in your gums, your dentist will remove it under anesthesia.
Your dentist might prescribe antibiotics as well if needed.
How to relief gum boil abscess pain at home?
– Apply an ice pack on the cheek of the swollen area for 20 min. This will numb the abscess and also reduce the swelling.
– Paracetamol: it can help reduce the pain, but be careful! you should call your dentist so that he will give you the right prescription depending on your child’s age, weight, medical condition.
– Avoid Ibuprofen if not prescribed by a dentist: Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory drug and it can be dangerous to prescribe it while having pus and necrosis.
– Do not take Antibiotics without consulting your dentist: Antibiotics are prescribed depending on the age, medical condition and diagnosis of the infection. They should never be taken without consulting a doctor.
– Warm saltwater rinse: Assist your child to rinse their mouth with warm salty water as it will reduce pain and swelling. But make your kid understand that he should spit it out and not swallow it.
– Brushing teeth gently will reduce the bacteria around the gingival abscess and therefore reduce the inflammation.
– Offer your kid healthy, soft food so that he won’t feel pain while chewing on the infected area.
Remember that all of these home pain relief methods are only temporary while you wait for your dental appointment. Gum boil in children is a very serious infection that can spread via blood to the whole body if not treated properly and on time by a dentist.