Tooth root abscess


Well-Known Member
17 July 2008
I have a 12yrs old (approx) cob gelding who gradually developed a lump on the side of his face, probably starting about 4 months ago (he's piebald and his markings covered it up intially). Vet came out 2 months ago and diagnosed a tooth abscess, he went in for x-rays and they could see some changes to the root of 3 of his teeth in that area but nothing substantial. He is showing no other clinical signs (no bad breath, weight loss, tooth pain / looseness under exam with gag, behaviour changes etc). He doesn't flinch or show any discomfort if the lump is prodded, though sometimes it seems a little warmer than the rest of his face. He had a three week course of strong anti-biotics but that didn't have much affect (the lump initially reduced but then returned to the same size when they finished).

The vet has said the only treatment he can see is to remove one of the teeth based on location, but he is somewhat reluctant to advise that given the lack of symptoms, since it is a fairly major procedure and does have the posibility of going badly wrong. He said its about 70% likely they can simply remove the tooth under local anaesthetic, but it can be more complicated and worse case scenario will require general and all the risks associated, plus his (relative) youth means the tooth still has a fair amount of root. There is also the possibility they remove it and it turns out it was one of the other two causing the problem. If I don't have the tooth removed I will probably have to have it done in the future when it gets worse and starts to worry him. Of course I also can't say for sure he is not experiencing any discomfort.

Has anyone had a similar situation? Would also be interested in any stories of horses who have had a tooth removed and how it went. He's not insured so finance is also an issue though I can find the money if it is what is best for him.


Well-Known Member
7 September 2011
My Welsh D had a tooth root infection last year,he did go off his feed and was generally not great in himself for a few days then suddenly had a huge swelling appear on his jawline.X rays showed he had an infection at the tooth root with no damage or anything to the tooth-he seems to get an infection sometimes and just hits any part of him.Was put on Oral antibiotics,went down after a couple of days but came back a week later,was admitted and had IV antibiotics for 2 weeks and 2 days after line removed and had gone on Oral the swelling came straight back.Had a 3 hour Standing Sedation and the whole tooth was removed successfully.I was warned that if the tooth broke he would need a GA but we had no choice.He was very sore and swollen for 3 days and came home 6 days after removal.We did know exactly which tooth it was which made it easier as you could see exactly on the x-Ray.Have you tried an extended Antibiotic route.My Insurance covered all mine but we had to try the antibiotics first.My boy had a plug in the hole which the vets checked every couple of weeks and I had to wash his mouth out regularly.Have no trouble with the gap and he was back in work within 3 weeks.I did have him checked by my Physio a few weeks after too as was going to be sore from where they were getting tooth out.Hope this helps.