Drainage (Dental)


Drainage refers to a treatment commonly used in the case of a dental abscess. Treatment includes the removal of pus accumulated due to the decay and breakdown of a tooth.

What is it?

Drainage is a procedure used to treat a dental abscess, a painful infection of the mouth or jaw caused by a tooth infection. A tooth can become infected through a cavity, crack, or trauma. These infections can lead to oral swelling and pus accumulation. Oral surgery allows for the infection to be drained.

What should I do to prepare?

An abscess is diagnosed through a dental examination and x-rays of the mouth. If a dental abscess is drained, a patient can expect to receive treatment in an outpatient setting. The patient can expect to receive local anesthetics before the procedure, and possibly antibiotics and painkillers post-procedure, depending on the severity of pain.

What happens during the process?

X-rays of the mouth are utilized to determine the source of the infection. Typically, a local anesthetic is used for this outpatient procedure. In the case where an infection developed within the gums or soft tissue, small dental tools are used to drain the puss from the tissue. A hole is created in the gum through the bone to relieve the pressure of the area. In the case where an infection developed within a tooth, a small hole is made in the tooth to allow for the drainage to occur. Following the procedure, the drained area is irrigated with saline. In either instance, antibiotics are commonly prescribed following a drainage procedure.

What are the risks and potential complications?

The risks and complications associated with most surgical interventions apply. These include a reaction to local anesthetics or anesthesia and the potential for excessive bleeding during or after the procedure. There are specific risks and complications associated with a drainage procedure. Individuals may experience swelling and pain before, during, and after the procedure.


All GlobeHealer Site content, including graphics, images, logos, and text, among other materials on the site are only for education purposes. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, and you should always contact your physician or qualified health provider for information regarding your health. Information on this site regarding the overview, diagnosis, and treatment of any kind should be looked at, in addition to the advice and information of your health care professional. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking treatment or medical advice due to information found on the GlobeHealer site.

If there is even the possibility that you may have a medical emergency, seek treatment, call your doctor, or call your local emergency telephone number immediately. GlobeHealer does not endorse being the first line of communication in case of emergency and does not endorse any specific test, physician, facility, product, procedure, opinion, or other information that is or may be mentioned on this site or affiliated entities. Reliance of any and all information provided by GlobeHealer, its employees, affiliations, others appearing on the Site under the invitation of GlobeHealer, or visitors of the site is solely at your own risk and is not the responsibility of GlobeHealer.