So, what exactly defines an infection in the mouth?
An infection, or more to the point, an infection affecting your teeth and gums, can be characterised by abacterial infection at the center of the tooth or between the gums and tooth that produces pus and discharge. This pus is mainly constituted of live bacteria and dead tissue.
This is an incredibly common condition that is encountered in the dentistry profession quite regularly. For the person suffering with the infection it can be very uncomfortable, if not extremely agonising. Infections need to be treated, the sooner the better! Without treatment this infection becomes trapped with no place to drain out and that leads to an abscess forming. The pus soon accumulates and once pressure begins to be put on the tissue the abscess starts to hurt. A lot.
If infection spreads it can cause not just internal problems but very noticeable external ones such as swelling in the face and lower jaw. If the abscess continues to go untreated then it can rupture, lessening the pain, but remaining infectious and harmful to your oral health. Symptoms of infection might not make themselves apparent for some time, years even, which is why it is so important to get check-ups with your dentist.
What are the symptoms of tooth infection?
A major sign of any tooth problems is a toothache that is severe and just won’t go away. If there is a throbbing pain or sharp pain then that’s a strong indication of infection.
Other common symptoms may include:
- Raised temperature/fever
- Discomfort or pain when chewing
- Sensitive teeth
- Bad breath
- Swelling neck glands
- Reddening gums
- Swollen jaw
If you experience a combination of any of the above symptoms it is imperative that you contact a dentist to arrange a check-up as it could be down to an infection that will kill the root of the tooth and only continue to spread and damage more tissue.
What are causes of tooth infection?
Infection between the teeth and gums can occur as a result of tooth decay or when a tooth is chipped or broken. Infection develops in the pulp of the tooth spreading to the root. Periodontal disease is another major cause of abscesses.
When a dental practitioner diagnoses tooth infection a pulp test is performed along with a thorough examination of your mouth plus x-rays if necessary. This can help to determine what kind of infection it is the patient is suffering from – periapical abscess or periodontal abscess
A periapical abscess is the type of infection that is from inside the tooth.
A periodontal abscess is an infection which occurs in the bones and surrounding tissues of the tooth.
Both of the infections, if left untreated, can lead to serious dental health issues from sepsis to tooth loss to infection of facial tissue. In severe cases this infection can spread to other areas of the body and result in various health problems. There are a variety of treatments available that can preserve the infected area and teeth. Antibiotics might be able to hep but is unlikely to cure the infected area.
A root canal procedure is often implemented in order to get to the ‘root’ of the problem, if you’ll pardon the pun.
See our sections on dental treatments from restorative dentistry, aesthetic dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, dental implant treatments, orthodontics, periodontics and endodontics. For more information please contact us.
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