When you experience tooth pain, there’s a number of possible reasons for your toothache, including tooth decay, injury, and even ear or jaw issues. But one of the common culprits are tooth infections.
A tooth infection –– sometimes known as a tooth abscess –– is a pocket of infection that forms in a tooth, often because of a bacterial infection in the mouth. Being able to pinpoint the symptoms quickly will make all the difference in treating the infection to relieve your pain and lower your risk of experiencing further complications.
Unsure how to decide if your toothache might be a sign of something more serious? Read on to learn more about tooth infections and tips for treating them.
Getting to the Root of a Tooth Infection
Tooth infections are certainly an inconvenience. They are painful and can put your tooth at risk. Beyond that, tooth infections can also be a cause for concern. If you allow a tooth infection to go untreated, it can become dangerous and even life-threatening.
Infections in the teeth are most often caused by untreated dental cavities or an injury to the teeth or mouth. These infections can occur anywhere on any of your teeth and need to be treated by a professional. It’s important to catch a tooth infection early on because otherwise, the damage will spread to other parts of your body.
Symptoms of a Tooth Infection
Whenever you have a toothache, it’s a good idea to visit your dentist to check out the problem. If you experience any of the tooth infection symptoms below, visit your dentist as soon as possible.
- A toothache that continues to worsen over time
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Facial swelling on the same side as the affected tooth
- Pain when pressure is applied to the tooth
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck or jaw
In most cases, tooth infections are very treatable. Your dentist will consider the initial location of the infection, whether the infection has spread, and the extent of your immune system’s reaction to the infection to determine the best course of treatment.
Most often, a dentist will treat a tooth infection by draining pus from the infected site, thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the area, and then sealing the tooth to prevent future infections. Severe abscesses may require antibiotics, root canal therapy, or the removal of the affected tooth.
Health Problem Caused by an Untreated Dental Infection
As we’ve mentioned, catching a tooth infection early is the key to treating it before it can spread to other tissue. If left untreated and the bacterial infection in the tooth spreads to the jaw, neck, or brain, it can become life-threatening.
A few other rare but serious complications include sepsis, septicemia, meningitis, Ludwig’s angina, or a brain abscess. In some cases, the infection can impact multiple tissues and systems throughout the body. These medical conditions are incredibly serious and may result in death.
The best way to protect yourself is prevention. Practicing good oral hygiene –– brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing just as often –– and knowing the symptoms of a tooth infection are excellent action steps. Also, prioritize seeing your general dentist every six months for cleanings and x-rays. Remaining vigilant concerning your dental health will make you more aware of any signs or symptoms of infection.
If you have a tooth infection and your general dentist recommends root canal therapy as treatment, our team at Endodontic Specialists is here to help. We are highly-trained to perform root canal therapy on infected teeth, and we specialize in saving the tooth from being removed, and preventing any serious medical complications. Contact our friendly staff today to schedule an evaluation at our offices in Colorado Springs or Pueblo and learn how we can treat your infection and relieve your pain!