Within this blog we will be covering all the key points to know about what the symptoms of a tooth infection are. This includes what a tooth infection is, what to look out for and how to prevent a tooth infection.
What Is a Tooth Infection
A tooth infection, often referred to as a tooth abscess, is effectively an enclosed pocket of pus within your tooth. While it may happen in any part of the tooth, it is normally seen at the tip of the root of the tooth. As long as this abscess is treated effectively and early, it should not become a serious issue. This treatment may be as simple as simply draining the infection, although it could require a root canal. Some key indicators of a tooth abscess are detailed below
- Inflamed lymph nodes beneath the jaw
- A persistent toothache
- A visible pocket of pus on the gum line in close proximity of the affected tooth
- Abrupt, severe sensitivity to hot or cold food/drink
- Facial inflammation
- Tooth sensitivity when chewing or biting
What to Look Out For
If an abscess does rupture then it will likely lead to a bad taste within your mouth and the pain will likely reduce. However, this does not mean that the issue is over, in fact it can be a sign that the infection is spreading. This is because if the infection enters the bloodstream it can potentially call sepsis, which can be life threatening. Subsequently, if you believe your abscess has ruptured then you should get medical help as quickly as possible. Luckily, a rupture usually only occurs when the abscess situation has become quite severe and in some scenarios it may not rupture at all. Some key symptoms to look out for are listed below, and if you experience and then medical help should be sought immediately.
- A general feeling of unwellness can also be a sign to look out for, this may include a persistent head ache or pain within the jaw or ear. You may also begin to feel very tired, or dizzy as your inner ear may be affected by the infection.
- It is also possible that you heart begins to beat faster and breathing begins to become more difficult. This occurs when sepsis first begins to set in, and seeking urgent medical help is of utmost priority.
- A fever can be a clear sign that your body is fighting off an infection, as the body does this to kill off the foreign bacteria. This can be highly problematic for your body and clear indication of sepsis. On the other hand, a significant drop in temperature can also be a troublesome sign, alongside chills and shivering.
- A significant amount of facial swelling can also be a clear symptom that the tooth abscess issue is worsening. While some minimal swelling is normal for an abscess, if it begins swelling further then it can begin to affect breathing or swallowing. This shows the infection is spreading and can become life threatening if not dealt with speedily.
Preventing a Tooth Infection
Ideally you will undertake preventative measures to avoid a tooth abscess occurring in the first place, given the significant negative repercussions it can cause. Some simple tips to ensure that the chances of tooth infection are minimised have been outlined below. While the majority of these should be part of your regular oral care routine, they are nevertheless vital.
- Try to minimise the consumption of food or drinks with high sugar content, ideally consuming water, fruit and vegetables
- Brush a minimum of twice a day, ideally using a non-abrasive toothpaste, and spit out don’t rinse out after brushing your teeth
- Visit the dentist regularly to assess your oral situation, and have regular dental cleanings with a hygienist
- Interdental cleaning (so floss or interdental brushes) at least daily.
- It may not be best to brush your teeth in the evening/ night right before you sleep, but 20 minutes after your last meal/ snack before you sleep
- Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head at least every three or four months to ensure it remains effective
- You can supplement your regular maintenance care with use of a mouthwash to kill bacteria between times you would normally brush your teeth