Rosie presented to Pennard Vets with a large red swelling on her cheek. After several bouts of antibiotics which seemingly helped, but did not fully resolve the swelling, further investigation was indicated.
We suspected the facial swelling was caused by an abscess formed under the skin from the tooth root below. The only way to confirm this diagnosis was to perform radiographs.
Rosie was admitted to the hospital and anaesthetised. On closer inspection of the tooth and gum line, it was found that Rosie had a draining tract from the red swelling to the gum below. When the swelling was palpated, pus drained out. Digital X-rays showed the tooth affected had a large degree of bone missing, and indications of an underlying infection around the root.
The tooth was immediately removed. There was a significant amount of pus surrounding the root, with a tract which led directly up to the skin mass. We drained pus from the skin abscess though the tooth socket, and left the wound open to allow further drainage.
Whilst she was under anaesthetic we also performed a full dental scale and polish to make sure Rosie left with not only a less painful face, but also pearly whites.
Rosie was given a course of pain relief and antibiotics. Over the following weeks, she made a full recovery with the facial mass fully resolving.
Tooth root abscesses form when bacteria penetrate from the mouth into the underlying root socket. The bacteria proliferate, causing destruction of the bone. The pus finds the path of least resistance, creating a tract through the soft tissues, thereby forming a swelling under the skin on the face overlying the affected root. Generally, there has to be a degree of periodontal disease before abscesses form, although sometimes they form from trauma to the overlying gums.