A tooth infection happens when bacteria enter the pulp of your tooth, located at the center, or the root of the tooth, underneath your gum tissue. These bacteria can cause nerves to die, pus to form, and a bad taste and smell to perpetuate your mouth.
Tooth infections are usually painful, but for some people, there may not be any symptoms until the condition becomes severe. But what can cause a tooth infection? Here are the top causes you should know about!
Injury to the Tooth
An injury to the tooth can lead to an infection, although this doesn’t happen overnight. In many cases, a chip or crack in the tooth can worsen over time, which allows bacteria to enter the inner chamber of the tooth . An infection can then result and compromise the tooth. Seeking treatment for any dental injury, even if it seems minor, can help prevent future problems such as a tooth infection from occurring!
Cavities start out with minor tooth enamel damage, which may not cause any symptoms. Left to progress, however, a cavity can affect the entire tooth, and become so large that it can cause a tooth infection inside the tooth . At this point, people generally begin experiencing symptoms, such as pain, tooth sensitivity, or a bad taste in the mouth.
Regular dental exams can help your dentist catch cavities early and prevent them from reaching this stage, increasing the chances that you’d only need a filling instead of a root canal or an extraction to fix the problem.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, happens in stages. The first stage, gingivitis, is simply gum inflammation that can typically be reversed. However, as gum disease progresses, it causes an active infection in the gums around the tooth roots, which can cause the infection to spread to the roots of the teeth .
If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, or you notice they’re more tender or swollen, you could be seeing signs of gum disease, so follow up with your dentist as soon as you’re able!
Never Ignore a Tooth Infection!
A tooth infection is not something to ignore. Infections don’t go away on their own, and in
some cases, they can be life-threatening. Taking care of your smile can help prevent a tooth infection, especially in cases where you suspect an injury to your tooth. Your dentist can help you determine the root cause of the infection and potentially save your tooth!