A tooth infection can start out as a mild ache and turn into a much more serious problem. Besides being painful, a tooth infection can eventually lead to a tooth extraction, so getting treatment as soon as possible is always a good idea. But how do you know if your tooth is actually infected? Here’s how you can identify a potentially infected tooth and why you should never avoid treatment!
What Causes a Tooth Infection?
There are a few things that can cause a tooth infection to develop. Extensive tooth decay can cause the protective layers of your tooth to wear away, causing a hole that leads to the tooth’s nerves, also called the pulp. Once bacteria are able to enter this chamber inside the tooth, an infection can happen.
A cracked tooth that hasn’t been treated can also cause bacteria to affect the inner tissue of your tooth. Untreated gum disease can eventually cause a tooth infection around your tooth’s root. If the infection builds up, an abscess can form, which can lead to an infection in your jawbone .
Symptoms of an Infected Tooth
An infected tooth may not initially cause symptoms, but as the infection progresses, you’ll likely experience some mild to intense discomfort. If you have a tooth infection, symptoms could include :
- An aching jaw
- Pain when chewing
- Gum swelling
- A bad taste or smell in your mouth
- Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold foods or drinks
Letting a tooth infection go untreated can make symptoms worse. Never assume that the tooth will get better on its own—if you have a tooth infection, the condition will get worse until you receive professional treatment to save your tooth.
Avoiding Treatment Could Have Life-Threatening Consequences
Not only can avoiding treatment reduce the chances that you’d be able to save your tooth, but a tooth infection can have more severe consequences. It’s rare, but a tooth infection can spread, as bacteria from the infection can enter your bloodstream and spread to other parts of your body, which can be fatal.
If you have a fever, vomiting, nausea, or swelling or itching of the face (including swollen lymph nodes) along with symptoms of an infected tooth, consider your tooth infection an emergency and see your nearest dentist or go to the emergency room as soon as possible !
Do You Have an Infected Tooth?
Never wait to seek treatment for an infected tooth. Any pain or swelling should be evaluated by your experienced dentist to determine if an infection could be the culprit. And, seeking treatment faster will help improve the chances of saving your tooth. Call your dentist today to discuss your symptoms and set up an appointment to get your infected tooth taken care of!