Do you have a toothache? Does it hurt when you chew food? Are your teeth sensitive to hot and cold? It sounds like you have a tooth infection and will need to schedule an emergency dental appointment with your dentist. The longer you leave it, the worse it will get. This article discusses why teeth become infected, tooth infection symptoms, and treating the condition with the help of root canal therapy.
Why do teeth become infected?
One of the common causes of tooth infection is an abscess caused by bacteria entering the tooth through a crack or cavity and forming pus inside it.
Depending on how long the infection is left untreated, it can spread to other places in the body, which has the potential to be life-threatening. The risk of developing a tooth infection increases in people that have:
- A diet high in sugar, including fizzy drinks and sweets
- Poor oral hygiene, not brushing the teeth twice a day and not flossing
- Dry mouth is a side-effect of certain medications and is often caused by ageing
It’s crucial to recognise the symptoms of an infected tooth so that you can seek urgent dental care.
Typical tooth infection symptoms include:
- The tooth is darker in colour than the other teeth
- It hurts to eat. The abscess or infection spreads out from the tooth root affecting the gums and jawbone. A patient may experience throbbing or pulsating pain that can’t be relieved with pain medication. This happens when the infection spreads, placing pressure on the gums and bones.
- The jaw, surrounding lymph nodes and face are swollen. The jaw may also be painful because of the swelling.
- Another indicator of tooth infection is bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.
- The gums may be swollen and filled with pus.
- Another red flag is difficulty opening and moving the mouth due to pain or swelling.
- Generally not feeling well. A severe infection not only makes a person feel unwell but can also cause fever.
So now you’re aware of tooth infection symptoms, what are the treatment options?
How to treat tooth infection?
The only effective way to treat an infected tooth and get rid of it for good is antibiotics. However, there are a few remedies you can try at home to alleviate some of the pain while you wait to see a dentist. These include:
- Warm salt water rinse to clean the mouth and kill off some of the bacteria
- Over the counter pain killers
- A cold compress to help reduce swelling
When to call a dentist?
If you have the symptoms of a tooth infection, it’s vital to visit a dentist for prompt treatment. Natural remedies will help ease the pain, but you still need to see a dentist about the infection. The dentist can take x-rays to ascertain if you need root canal treatment and gauge the severity of the condition. You may also need a course of antibiotics.
How a dentist treats tooth infection?
Once a dentist has diagnosed tooth infection, they start treating it, draining any abscesses, and assessing the damage. If an abscess has formed in the tooth or gums nearby, the dentist will clean out the pockets to eliminate all traces of bacteria. Draining the abscess often provides immediate relief from a painful infection. You will most likely need a course of antibiotics too. The dentist will also examine the tooth to see if a root canal is necessary to save it.
What is a root canal?
Dentists use root canal treatment to remove bacteria from the root canal, prevent reinfection, and save the tooth from extraction.
Patients often fear root canal treatment because of a misconception that it will hurt. Fortunately, this is not the case. Patients with an infected tooth are already in pain when sitting in the dentist’s chair. Root canal treatment provides immediate pain relief and saves the patient from losing a natural tooth and the expense of replacing it.
A patient should not feel any pain during root canal treatment because local anaesthesia provided by the dentist will numb their mouth. Not only does root canal treatment relieve pain, but it restores tooth health and functionality.
If you are experiencing tooth infection symptoms, you must make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as you possibly can. While home remedies can help ease the pain, the problem will become more painful and severe without treatment. A toothache is just the beginning and is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. So listen up and book an appointment or call on (02) 9158 6334 with the experienced dentists at Beyond 32 Dental if you’re experiencing ongoing tooth pain.
Healthline – Symptoms of Tooth Infection Spreading to the Body
Guardian Direct – 10 Natural Remedies for a Tooth Infection
Healthline – Everything You need to Know About Using a Cold Compress
American Association of Endodontists – What is a Root Canal?