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Peritonsillar Abscess

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Follow-Up for a Peritonsillar Abscess

Arrange follow-up with your doctor or an ear-nose-throat specialist (otolaryngologist) after treatment for a peritonsillar abscess. Also:

  • If the abscess starts to return, you may need a different antibiotic or further drainage.
  • If you develop excessive bleeding or have trouble breathing or swallowing, seek medical attention immediately.

 

Prevention of a Peritonsillar Abscess

There is no reliable method for preventing a peritonsillar abscess other than limiting risks: Do not smoke, maintain good dental hygiene, and promptly treat oral infections.

  • If you develop a peritonsillar abscess, you may possibly prevent peritonsillar cellulitis by taking an antibiotic. However, you should be closely monitored for abscess formation and may even be hospitalized.
  • If you are likely to form an abscess (for example, if you have tonsillitis frequently), talk with your doctor about whether you should have your tonsils removed.
  • As with any prescription, you must finish the full course of the antibiotic even if you feel better after a few days.

Outlook for a Peritonsillar Abscess

People with an uncomplicated, well-treated peritonsillar abscess usually recover fully. If you don't have chronic tonsillitis (in which your tonsils regularly become inflamed), the chance of the abscess returning is only 10%, and removing your tonsils is usually not necessary.

Most complications occur in people with diabetes, in people whose immune systems are weakened (such as those with AIDS, transplant recipients on immune-suppressing drugs, or cancer patients), or in those who don't recognize the seriousness of the illness and do not seek medical attention.

Major complications of a peritonsillar abscess include:

    • Airway blockage
    • Bleeding from erosion of the abscess into a major blood vessel
    • Dehydration from difficulty swallowing
    • Infection in the tissues beneath the breastbone
    • Pneumonia
    • Meningitis
    • Sepsis (bacteria in the bloodstream)

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Steve Drescher, DDS on April 14, 2013
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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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