The doctor diagnoses an abscess on the cheek by means of the typical clinical appearance: the skin above the abscess is very swollen, warm and reddened. Due to the severe swelling, the affected person feels a feeling of tension and more or less pronounced pain at the inflamed area. In addition, blood can be taken to check inflammation values such as CRP and leukocytes (white blood cells). In some cases, the doctor can also puncture the abscess and microbiologically diagnose the bacteria in the pus to prescribe a suitable antibiotic.
Treatment of an abscess in the cheek
The treatment of an abscess on the cheek depends on the severity of the inflammation and the exact location of the abscess. Smaller abscesses, which lie on the outside of the facial skin, can possibly be treated with pulling ointment. Larger abscesses indicate a severe inflammation and must be treated by a doctor.
Also abscesses that lie on the inside of the cheek mucous membrane should be treated immediately by a dentist. The only way to treat an abscess permanently is to cut it open. The doctor performs the small surgical procedure under local anaesthetic.
By means of a small skin incision, the abscess is split on the cheek and the accumulated pus can drain away. The wound is then rinsed with an antiseptic liquid and the wound is covered with compresses. The wound is not sutured to prevent bacteria from immediately re-encapsulating and forming another abscess. In some cases, the doctor may then prescribe a drug therapy with antibiotics. After the abscess is split, the wound usually heals completely within a few days, but a fine white scar may remain through the incision.
Duration of an abscess
An abscess on the cheek takes about one to two weeks, depending on the size and treatment. Small abscesses heal relatively quickly with the use of a pulling ointment, whereas larger abscesses take longer. In general, the faster the abscess is treated, the shorter the duration of the illness.
Especially abscesses on the inside of the cheek can cause serious problems and last for a long time, which is why a doctor should be consulted immediately if an abscess is suspected. After the abscess has been cut open, the pain and discomfort is relieved very quickly and the wound heals after a few days with the administration of antibiotics.