An untreated tooth infection can become very severe very quickly and if it causes an abscess to develop, may warrant a root canal treatment to save your tooth. It’s a good idea to know what the early tooth infection symptoms are, so you can get timely dental treatment and avoid compromising the health of your tooth.
What Is A Tooth Infection?
If you have dental decay or an injury to your tooth, it is possible for bacteria to penetrate your dental enamel and cause an infection. It’s important to keep on top of dental decay because it may only take a day or two for a tooth infection to turn into a dental abscess. The two most common types of dental abscess are
A tooth or periapical abscess
This type of abscess occurs when the infection starts inside your tooth pulp, causing it to become diseased. A periapical abscess forms at the root tip of your tooth and may then spread to the surrounding bone.
A gum or periodontal abscess
This type of abscess usually develops as a result of an infection between the gum and your tooth. It may begin as a result of food getting stuck in that space, or because of untreated plaque build-up.
What Are The Most Common Tooth Infection Symptoms?
While it may be possible to have an infected tooth and not experience any tooth infection symptoms, some patients report.
Pain from dental abscesses can be very severe, causing them to seek treatment. However, in other patients, abscesses may be present for months or years without the patient experiencing pain or discomfort.
A visible dimple or hole in the gum
Sometimes, a hole, known as a fistula, forms in the infected gum, to allow pus to drain from the area.
A strange taste in your mouth
If the infected matter is draining out of the abscess and into your mouth, you should notice a strange taste.
Formation of a cyst
If the infected matter from your abscess is not drained, it can cause further complications such as the development of a cyst. This can compromise the health of your tooth, causing it to die off. In this case, a root canal treatment may be the only option to save your tooth.
Nausea and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting may be a sign that the infection has spread beyond the abscess and is infecting your system as a whole.
Pain or swelling in the jaw or neck
Swelling, affected mobility or pain in the jaw could be signs of spreading infection.
What Treatments Can Be Used For Tooth Infections?
Depending on where bacteria have been able to penetrate your tooth, your dentist may be able to perform a dental restoration once the decayed matter has been removed. A filling or dental crown will be needed to seal the tooth up again.
Draining the abscess
If pus has accumulated and has not been able to drain from the infected area, your dentist will drain it manually.
Root canal treatment
For more severe infections where the dental pulp has become infected, root canal treatment may be required to save the tooth. During root canal treatment, your dentist will drill a hole through your tooth in order to access the dental pulp. All of the pulp and bacteria need to be removed, using special instrumentation. Once all the diseased material has been removed, the tooth canals need to be sealed up again in order to prevent reinfection.
A dental crown will be shaped over the cavity or hole that was drilled, in order to match your natural teeth and to stop bacteria from re-entering.
A root canal treatment gives you the opportunity to save your tooth. If you do not address the tooth infection soon enough, you may need to have your tooth extracted.
If you had a severe abscess or infection, your dentist may prescribe a course of antibiotics to help you heal and recover.
If you do notice a dimple or swelling in your mouth and need to wait a bit for a dental consultation, you should rinse your mouth periodically with saline solution in order to keep it clean. Even if your abscess has burst, or the infected material is draining out, you still need to seek treatment for your infection to prevent it from spreading.
To find out more about the most common tooth infection symptoms, or to seek treatment for pain or discomfort in your mouth, please contact us as soon as possible: (02) 8203 8760.