One of the worst pain anyone can experience is a toothache.
When you have a toothache, it’s hard to think clearly. You may have trouble eating or drinking. The pulp inside each tooth is full of nerve endings. That makes them very sensitive when they get infected.
More than 25 percent of adults in the U.S. have untreated tooth decay. That increases their risk of tooth infection. When left untreated, a tooth infection can lead to serious results.
There are many signs of tooth infection to consider. Here are the top five most common symptoms to watch out for.
Tooth Pain That Keeps Coming Back
Pain is one way your body uses to tell you something is wrong. When a specific area or tooth in your mouth hurts, you may have a tooth infection. It’s time to call your dentist and make an appointment.
Here are several things you can try to relieve your pain while you wait. It’s important to get your tooth checked out as soon as you can.
Left untreated, tooth pain may eventually go away. That’s not necessarily good news. It can be a sign that the nerve has died. A dead nerve can lead to major problems in the future.
Swollen Lymph Nodes Indicate an Infection
An infection often affects lymph nodes in your neck. Lymph nodes are glands that act as filters in your body. They trap bacteria and viruses in an attempt to keep them from spreading.
When you feel pain or swelling in your ear and neck, it can be a sign of tooth infection. This swelling and pain can also affect your jawline. The pain will often increase when you lie down.
This can also be a sign of an abscess, which is a more serious pocket of infection in a tooth. Swelling from an abscess usually comes with a fever, increased sensitivity, and pain.
Increased Tooth Sensitivity Is a Common Sign
When you have a cavity, it can create a bacterial infection. That makes your tooth sensitive to changes in temperature. Sometimes your tooth will become sensitive to acidic foods, or sugary, sticky desserts.
If you have a cracked tooth, the pulp inside can become infected. That causes inflammation. The tooth becomes sensitive to touch, making it difficult to chew food.
Are Your Gums Puffy or Swollen?
Sometimes an infection will cause an area of your gum to swell or ooze pus. It’s possible that the tooth infection symptoms include a pimple-like swelling near the infected tooth.
The pimple can release some pus, which is the body’s way of draining the infection. If the tooth infection is not treated, the pimple will usually fill up again over time.
Gum disease is a common cause of puffy gums. Poor dental hygiene can result in the build-up of plaque along the gum lines. A bacterial infection can set in.
A Fever Is an Important Factor To Consider
When you have a fever, your body is fighting an infection. Bacteria can’t thrive in a hot environment so your body turns up the heat. The bacteria will continue to multiply if left untreated.
With a tooth infection, you might have a fever without any other signs. Visit your dentist to get the proper tooth infection treatment. Usually, antibiotics are required to treat a serious infection.
Common Causes of a Tooth Infection
The best way to prevent a tooth infection is to clean your teeth properly. Adequate brushing and using dental floss after meals are the basics. A common cause of tooth pain is a piece of food stuck in your teeth.
Eating a diet high in sugar increases your risk of developing a tooth infection. Sugar feeds bacteria. That sweetened drink may not be so sweet at the end of the day.
Injuries to your face may result in a broken tooth. Sometimes you can break a tooth when eating something hard. Cracks or chips create an entry point where bacteria can enter.
If you’ve been injured, a dentist can help repair your teeth. That will help prevent an infection in the future.
When fillings get old, they may become damaged or worn out. Small holes may occur. That can provide an opening where bacteria can take hold. Older root canals are also possible sources of a tooth infection.
Other clues may include recent dental work. It’s uncommon, but you might develop a tooth extraction infection or a wisdom tooth infection.
In both of these cases, a visit to the dentist is recommended.
These Signs Of Tooth Infection Are a Warning
There are many reasons not to ignore the many warning signs of a tooth infection.
A tooth infection can become very serious if left untreated. It can develop into a deeper infection called an abscess. An abscess is an area of pus that develops in the tooth.
It can develop on the gums at the side of the root of the tooth. It can also develop at the tip of the root, inside the gums. You should not try to treat an abscess on your own.
This serious bacterial infection can spread to other areas of your body causing a larger problem. There are several symptoms to look out for.
If your heart is racing or you are having trouble breathing, the infection might have progressed. That may have caused a condition called sepsis to begin setting in.
That is when the infection has started getting into your bloodstream. As sepsis continues to get worse, you may become dehydrated. You might notice you don’t have to pee as often. Your urine may become darker in color.
Stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea are symptoms that sepsis is progressing. Sepsis is a much more serious infection and you should see your doctor right away. A visit to the emergency room might be needed.
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