What can you do about dental fistulas?  

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Dental fistulas – a term that causes confusion and raises many questions. In this article, we will talk in detail about dental fistulas, from their causes to treatment options.

What are dental fistulas?

A dental fistula is an unusual connection between the root of a tooth and the gums or skin. The development of fistulas can have various causes. Most often they arise in response to a tooth infection that spreads to the surrounding tissue.

Oral fistulas are usually not immediately visible because the affected area is below the surface of the gums. Dental fistulas can often be recognized by external signs such as swelling or bumps around the affected tooth. These swellings can vary depending on the size and severity of the infection. If left untreated, a dental fistula can develop into a pus-filled cavity.

If a dental fistula is large enough, it can sometimes appear as a small opening on the surface of the gums. Dental fistulas affect oral health. Therefore, if you have symptoms such as pain, sensitivity or looseness of the tooth, you should pay particular attention and consult your dentist.

Causes and risk factors of dental fistulas

The causes of dental fistulas can be varied, but they are usually related to an infection that spreads from the root of the tooth to the surrounding tissue. Here are some common causes of dental fistulas:

  • Tooth infections: Deep tooth decay or an inflamed tooth root can allow bacteria to invade the inside of the tooth and cause an infection. If left untreated, this dental abscess can spread through the root canals and infect the surrounding tissues.
  • Traumatic injuries: An injury to the mouth area can result in damage to a tooth or surrounding tissue. If not treated properly, this injury can lead to inflammation of the jawbone or even tooth loss.
  • Periodontitis: Advanced bacterial infection in the mouth can also lead to dental fistulas. The infection spreads from the teeth and gums to the jawbone, which can lead to destruction of the bone and the formation of fistulas.

Symptoms of dental fistulas

Symptoms of dental fistulas can vary depending on location and severity. Some common signs of a dental fistula include:

  • Swelling or bump on gums or skin: A fistula can cause a visible swelling or bump to form, usually near the affected tooth.
  • Pain or sensitivity: A dental fistula can cause pain or sensitivity around the affected tooth. This pain may be constant or may increase with touch or pressure.
  • Discharge of pus or blood: In some cases, there may be a discharge of pus or blood from the fistula.
  • Looseness of the affected tooth: If the infection progresses through the fistula and damages the surrounding bone, it may lead to looseness of the affected tooth.

Severity and treatment of dental fistulas

The severity of fistulas can vary depending on their size, location, and impact on surrounding tissues:

  1. Mild dental fistulas: Mild fistulas can be small and cause little discomfort. In some cases, they may heal spontaneously, especially if the underlying infection is treated. Treatment may include antibiotics and monitoring by your dentist to ensure that the fistula is resolved.
  2. Moderate dental fistulas: Active treatment is required for moderate dental fistulas, which are larger and may cause more discomfort. This may include performing a root canal or an apicectomy to remove the infection inside the tooth and eliminate the fistula.
  3. Severe dental fistulas: Severe dental fistulas are often large, can be extremely painful, and can cause significant damage to teeth, bone, and surrounding tissue. Treatment of severe dental fistulas typically requires a comprehensive approach that may include multiple treatment steps.

Regardless of the severity, appropriate dental care is crucial to treating dental fistulas and avoiding complications. Your dentist will recommend the appropriate treatment option based on the size, location and severity of the fistula, as well as your individual needs.

Possible remedy before the dentist visit

  1. Consult a dentist: Medical attention is the most important step. A dentist can examine the fistula, treat the underlying infection, and prescribe antibiotics.
  2. Maintain hygiene: Good oral hygiene and maintaining a healthy diet can help reduce the growth of bacteria and control infection. Regular dental check ups, chewing sugar free gum and brushing your teeth two times a day will help you to maintain a good dental hygiene.
  3. Natural Remedies: Some people report using natural remedies such as warm salt water rinses to relieve pain and aid healing. However, this should not be viewed as a substitute for professional medical treatment.
  4. Pain relief: If you are in pain, over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can provide temporary relief. Sometimes it may also help to apply a cold compress.


If you notice signs of dental fistula, oral cavity, or have difficulty breathing or swallowing, do not hesitate to visit your dentist. If the pain increases, we at Cosmedica Dental can help you with surgical treatment. Contact our dental clinic in Turkey for a free consultation!