In your role as a family caregiver, you take extensive steps to make sure that your senior parent stays as healthy as possible. This includes encouraging them to eat a balanced, varied diet, get enough exercise and rest, and using an aggressive germ control approach tailored to their specific needs and challenges.
Sometimes, however, you encounter a situation that threatens their health regardless of these care efforts. When this happens, you must turn your focus toward addressing that specific challenge so you can help your parent get healthy and then stay healthy as they age in place.
What is an abscessed tooth?
An abscessed tooth is an infection in or around the root of the tooth that can cause pain, pressure, swelling, and even lead to a severe infection that spreads through the body and puts your parent’s safety and wellbeing at risk.
Since an abscessed tooth can be a painful and even dangerous situation, handling this type of infection properly is essential to making sure that your loved one avoids potentially devastating health consequences.
Early Signs of an Abscessed Tooth
The first step in making sure that your elderly loved one gets the best care and management possible for their abscessed tooth is to recognize the infection as early as possible.
Watch your parent while they eat, drink, and talk, as well as when they are not using their mouth to see if they are showing signs or symptoms of an abscessed tooth.
The common signs and symptoms of an abscessed tooth include:
Signs of pain or pressure
Complaints of mouth or specific teeth hurting
If your loved one shows signs of any of the above, it is important to get them to a doctor as soon as possible.
Treatment Options for an Abscessed Tooth
When your parent receives a diagnosis of an abscessed tooth, the dentist will likely give them several options for treatment.
Empower your parent to evaluate the options, get full information from the dentist, and make the treatment decision that is right for them.
Treatment options may include:
Having the affected tooth removed
Getting a root canal
Undergoing antibiotic treatment to the area
Or a combination of more than one of these options
Home Remedy for an Abscessed Tooth
As your parent is healing from their abscess, help further the healing process and relieve the symptoms by rinsing their mouth with warm salt water. This will help to remove lingering germs, soothe the tissues, and ease swelling.
Pain Relief for an Abscessed Tooth
If your parent is in pain, talk to the dentist about the pain relief medications that they should take to help them ease their discomfort.
Depending on the type of treatment that they received, they might have a prescription for pain medication for the first several days.
Offer them reminders to make sure that they take these medications on the proper schedule and in the correct dosage so that they get the maximum benefit from them.
Be sure to let the dentist know about any other medications that your parent is taking so that they do not prescribe something that might interfere with these treatments.
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