Incision & Drainage

George B. Shinn Jr., DDS, Los Angeles, CA

Appointments: (424) 331-1351 | General Inquiries: (310) 649-3636

George B. Shinn Jr.
DDS, Los Angeles, CA

Appointments: (424) 331-1351
General Inquiries: (310) 649-3636


Mon 9 am - 6 pm

Tue 9 am - 6 pm

Wed 9 am - 6 pm

Thur 9 am - 6 pm

Fri 9 am - 5 pm

Sat 3rd Saturday of each month 10 am - 4 pm

Sun Closed

What are incision and drainage?

Incision and drainage are techniques used to help fight deep infection. The area of infection is carefully incised (opened with an incision) to enable any pus to drain and to allow the area to be carefully cleansed with a sterile saline solution, so it's free of bacteria. A special drain is inserted into the area and sutured in place.

The drain will usually be allowed to remain in place for 24 to 48 hours to ensure complete drainage of bacteria and other debris before it's removed and the incision is closed with sutures. Incision and drainage can help “jump start” your body's natural healing processes by removing the harmful bacteria so your immune defenses can begin healing the area.

Can antibiotics be used to treat infection instead?

Antibiotic use alone is seldom enough to eradicate an infection. For proper and complete healing of the area and to avoid reinfection, the infection must be treated at its source. Often, antibiotics are used in conjunction with incision and drainage or other techniques used to battle infection, but in most cases, their use is limited to avoid triggering bacterial resistance to the medication. Use of antibiotics is made on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions about whether antibiotics will be used in your treatment, be sure to discuss these issues during your evaluation.

How long does it take to recover from incision and drainage procedure?

Most incision sites heal in about a week to 10 days. During that time, you'll be provided with complete instructions on how to care for the area so you can keep your teeth and surrounding gums clean without damaging or injuring the incision site. In some cases, a special mouth rinse may be ordered to aid in cleaning. The procedure is typically performed in an outpatient setting under local anesthetic, meaning that you should be able to return home that day. For those patients who are very fearful of the dentist, sedation can be used. Following the procedure, patients will check back with the dentist regularly to ensure everything is healing as it should.