Tooth Infection Treatment Doctor Q&A
A tooth infection, often known as a dental abscess, begins when germs enter the pulp, the tooth’s innermost layer. A tooth infection can cause intense toothache, swelling of the gums or face, a high fever, a bad taste or odor in the mouth, and trouble eating or biting. If left untreated, a tooth infection might cause serious problems. If you have a tooth infection, come to Columbia Clinic Urgent Care, we can help you prevent infection. For more information, please contact us or book an appointment online. We have convenient locations to serve you at Stark Street Portland and Tigard, OR.
Table of Contents:
A tooth infection is an infection in one or more of the many tiny blood vessels that supply a tooth. The bacteria that causes a tooth infection may spread from the blood vessels into the tooth tissue, causing pain, redness, and swelling. The infection may also spread beyond the tooth and into the surrounding tissue, causing fever, chills, headaches, and other feverish symptoms. The infection may cause the tooth to become discolored or brittle; it also often results in halitosis or bad breath.
When a tooth is infected, it can present a wide variety of unpleasant symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms include:
– Persistent and Recurring Toothaches — Severe pain in the teeth should always be addressed by a dental professional; it may be the result of a sinus infection or a tooth injury, but it may also be caused by a cavity if the pain continues for more than a week. If the tooth pain persists for even longer, it may be caused by an infection.
– Pain or Temperature Sensitivity — An infected tooth is more prone to hot and cold temperatures as there is less protective enamel present and possible nerve root exposure.
– General Sensitivity/Jolts of Pain — The two main reasons sensitivity occurs include the pulp within the tooth being inflamed and there is a crack in the tooth.
– Fever — If fever-like symptoms are present without other cold or flu-like symptoms, an infected tooth may be the culprit.
– Swelling and Tender Lymph Nodes — Swollen lymph nodes are caused when the teeth are exposed to too much bacteria.
– Seeing Holes or Deep Pits Within the Teeth — When a cavity or infection starts to form, it starts as a small white spot on the surface of the tooth; as the infection gets worse, holes or deep pits begin to appear.
– Deeply Stained Teeth — While red wine, coffee, and dark-colored foods can all stain teeth, discolored spots can be a sign of infection.
There can be many causes for an infected tooth. The most common include:
– Periodontal Disease– Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease is an advanced condition that develops when plaque builds up on the gums; the initial stage of the disease is known as gingivitis.
– Gingival Abscess — A gingival abscess is formed when a foreign object gets lodged in the teeth or gums and causes an infection. The longer the foreign particle (such as food residue) is present, the more likely it is to cause an infection.
– Bacteria — The buildup of harmful bacteria is another common cause of tooth infection; bacteria can get into the pulp of the teeth, which will cause cavities. If this infection spreads through the pulp and the roots of the teeth, a root canal procedure may be necessary to preserve the tooth and clear out the infection.
Depending on the cause of the tooth infection, various treatment methods may be recommended, from draining an infected abscess to get rid of pain and mitigating risk to root canal therapy to get rid of the infected pulp and stop the disease from spreading. In more severe cases, tooth extraction may be necessary, but this is usually only suggested if the infection has destroyed the structural integrity of the tooth.
An untreated tooth infection can lead to several serious complications, including:
– Bone infection
– Infection of the blood vessels in the sinuses
– Skin and fat infection or cellulitis
– Parapharyngeal abscess
– Sepsis or blood infection
If you have a tooth infection, visit the specialists at Columbia Clinic Urgent Care for treatment you can trust. For more information, contact us or schedule an appointment online. We serve patients from Stark Street Portland, Fairview OR, Happy Valley OR, Gladstone OR, Cedar Mill OR, Tigard OR, Lake Oswego OR, Tualatin OR, Oregon City OR. We look forward to serving you!