Take a Peek Now and Then


Abscess swelling

Don’t let this happen to your child. You can almost always prevent the details of the story I’m about to share.

Many years ago I had a mother and son come into my office. The son had a VERY LARGE swollen face, much larger than the photo I’ve posted here. This can easily turn into a life-threatening emergency so we had to treat it right there. You might even be wondering why I didn’t just prescribe some antibiotics and send them home to wait until they worked? Good question.

The swelling happened to be an abscess, which is a localized collection of white blood cells (that’s what pus actually is). Prior to antibiotics, treatment of abscesses always involved draining the pus. That usually involves a scalpel or a drill (to drain it through a root canal) or both.

And FYI, these things almost never go numb with anesthetic because the pus dilutes it. This is why you NEVER want your child to go through this if at all possible.

The pressure buildup of the pus is the major contributor to the pain so releasing the pus is the kindest thing a dentist or surgeon can do. I tried and tried as best I could to make the son numb. It helped, but the son still felt a bit of what I was doing. I felt so sorry for him, but I knew it was the nicest thing I could do for him.

As the pressure was relieving, he just kept saying to me, “Oh Doc, oooohhh Doc, ooohh Doc (he must have said it 30 times in relief of pain as I did what I had to do). Aside: we nicknamed him “Doc” because of how many times he said the word.

ALL of this could likely have been avoided if he had notified his mom about the many severely decayed teeth in his mouth when he first noticed them. If his mom would have taken an occasional peek in his mouth, she would have seen the mess herself before it became this disaster that earned him the name “Doc.”

So I’m strongly encouraging you, no matter what the age of your child, PLEASE take a look now and then inside their mouth. Have a professional dentist check your child if you even “suspect” a problem but aren’t sure. I mean that “no matter what your child’s age.”


You see, this patient happened to be in his mid-40s and was still living with his mom (he looked so old even for his age that I thought the woman who brought him in was his wife … OOPS). So pay attention REAL MOMS. Use that amazing Mom Radar to sense when you need to keep a close eye on your childrens’ dental situations and avoid a “draining” situation like this (stupid pun intended).

And for those who are wondering, yes, I DID prescribe antibiotics too which greatly sped up his recovery so we could go remove those nasty teeth later, under much more comfortable circumstances.

About the author 

Dr Paul

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
Subscribe to get the latest updates