Tooth infection, also referred to as a dental abscess or dental infection, is the collection of pus formed inside the gums or teeth. Tooth infection is typically a result of a bacterial infection, caused by the presence of plaque or tartar on the teeth. The plaques or tartar grow bacteria, which often accumulate in the soft pulp of the tooth.
Bacteria exist in tartar, food chunks, plaque, saliva, and the by-product of food. They stick to the teeth and cause damages to the teeth and the gums.
If the plaque and food chunks are not removed by good and proper oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing and flossing, the developed bacteria may spread all over the mouth and into the soft tissue of the gums and teeth. This eventually leads to tooth infection.
Symptoms of Tooth Infection:
- Throbbing, persistent, or a severe toothache that may spread to your ear, neck, or jawbone.
- Oversensitivity to cold and hot temperatures.
- Oversensitivity to the pressure of biting and chewing.
- Serious fever.
- Swelling in your check or face.
- Swollen or tender lymph nodes under your neck or your jaw.
- A sudden rush of foul-tasting and foul-smelling, taste of salty fluid in your mouth when the abscess ruptures.
- Facial redness and swelling
- Swollen, red gums
- Loose or discolored loose teeth
- Foul taste in your mouth
- Bad breath
When to See a Dentist?
If you notice any of the symptoms of tooth infection above, quickly see your dentist for tooth infection treatment. If you also experience swallowing or breathing trouble, you should also visit your dentist. The above symptoms of tooth infection may indicate that the tooth infection has radiated deeper into the surrounding gingival tissue, jawbone, or even into other body areas.
Risk factors of Tooth Infection
The following factors may increase your risk of having a tooth infection:
- Poor oral hygiene practices: if you do not observe good oral practices or take proper care of your teeth and gingiva i.e. not brushing or flossing at least twice daily, you are increasing your risk of abscess tooth, gum disease, tooth decay, and other dental complications.
- Consuming diets high in sugar: Frequent eating and drinking of diets high in sugar can also increase your risk of having dental cavities, which may turn into tooth infection.
If you have a weak body immune system and you have an untreated tooth infection, you stand a greater risk of having the infection spread at an increasing rate all over your body.
Complications of Tooth Infection
Tooth infection won’t go away except with dental abscess treatments. Even if the abscess bursts and the pain reduced significantly, dental abscess treatments are still needed.
However, if the tooth abscess doesn’t rupture, the bacterial infection may radiate to your gum, jaw, neck, and head. A tooth abscess may even degenerate into sepsis — a severe, life-threatening bacterial infection that spreads all over your body.
Tooth Infection Treatment
Tooth infection treatment focus on clearing up the bacterial infection and relieving you of pain. Depending on the symptoms of tooth infection you develop, your dentist may have to start the tooth infection treatment with a dental X-ray. This will enable your dentist to know whether the bacterial infection has radiated to other areas or not.
Depending on the severity and type of tooth infection, tooth infection treatment may include:
- Breaking and draining the tooth abscess – your dentist would cut into the tooth abscess to break it and then drain the pus. Your dentist would then clean the affected area with a saline solution.
- Undergoing a root canal procedure – you may have to undergo a root canal treatment, which involves drilling into the abscessed tooth to drain the abscess and eliminate any infected dental pulp. After which your dentist would fill and seal up the pulp chamber. If necessary, your dentist may have to place a dental crown on the affected tooth to strengthen it. However, the dental crown treatment is given during a separate dental appointment.
- Tooth extraction – should in case the abscessed tooth is severely damaged, your dentist may have to remove the tooth and then drain the abscess.
- Using antibiotics – If you have a weak body immune system or the bacterial infection has radiated beyond the affected tooth, your dentist may prescribe to you an oral antibiotic to help get rid of the infection.
- Removing of a foreign object – sometimes, foreign object in your gum may be responsible for your tooth abscess. In such a case, your dentist would have to remove the foreign object, and then clean up the affected area with a saline solution.
In case it’s not possible for you to consult your dentist immediately, an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen may help reduce the pain. Rinsing your mouth regularly with warm, salty water may also help fight the infection.
How to Prevent Tooth Infection?
Preventing tooth infection is better than undergoing tooth infection treatment. The best way to prevent tooth infection is to avoid tooth decay and tooth decay can be avoided by taking good and proper dental care. Other ways to prevent tooth infection include:
- Taking fluoridated drinking water.
- Brushing your teeth thrice daily using fluoride toothpaste.
- Flossing at least twice daily or using an interdental cleaner to clean your teeth daily.
- Replacing your toothbrush at most every four months, or whenever your toothbrush’s bristles are frayed.
- Eating healthy diets. Avoid between-meal snacks and high sugary diets.
- Scheduling a regular visit to your dentist for professional cleanings and checkups.
- Using a fluoride or antiseptic mouth rinse to add additional protection to your teeth against dental decay.
Note all the symptoms of a tooth infection. This will help you to know what to watch out for. Also, observe good and proper oral hygiene practice every day. This will help to reduce the risk of tooth infection, root canal, or sepsis.
Are you looking for a dentist in Texas for your tooth infection treatment? Dental Tomball TX is here to help. If you’re interested in learning more about tooth infection and tooth abscess, don’t hesitate to contact board-certified, professional and well-experienced doctors at Dentist Tomball TX today.