If you’ve had a toothache or are experiencing other symptoms like gum swelling or tooth discolouration, you may have a tooth infection. Your teeth are packed with nerves, so you can feel sharp pain, soreness and sensitivity in one or more areas of your mouth. This pain is almost always a sign of an oral health issue that needs to be addressed.
Common Causes and Symptoms
There are a number of causes of tooth infections, including tooth decay, gum disease, impact trauma and more. Symptoms can vary depending on the cause but often include:
- Throbbing tooth pain
- Pain in the jawbone, ear or neck (usually near the affected tooth)
- Pain that worsens when you lie down
- Swelling in the cheek or lip
- Tender or swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
- Sensitivity to pressure in the mouth
- Bad breath
- Unpleasant taste in mouth
A tooth infection often results in the development of an abscess. This is a pocket of pus that develops in the gum, most commonly next to the tooth root. Leaving a tooth abscess or any tooth infection untreated can lead to serious complications as the infection spreads around your body.
Signs of a Tooth Infection Spreading
If a tooth infection is not treated, the infection will eventually spread elsewhere in your body through your bloodstream, which is potentially life threatening. Signs and symptoms that the infection in the tooth has spread include:
- Skin flushing
- Swelling that makes it difficult to fully open your mouth
- Swelling that impedes swallowing
- Swelling that impedes breathing
- Reduction in frequency of urination
- Darker urine
- Rapid pulse rate
- Your breathing rate increases (over 25 breaths per minute)
- Stomach pain
You should seek immediate, emergency medical attention if you have a high fever accompanied by chest pain, difficulty breathing, mental confusion, atypical sensitivity to light, seizures or convulsions, unexplained skin rash or pain when urinating.
How Does a Tooth Become Infected?
A tooth becomes infected when bacteria gets into the tooth through a cavity, chip or crack. Your risk factor for a tooth infection increases if you have:
- Poor dental hygiene
- A high sugar diet, including eating sweets and drinking soda
- Dry mouth, which is often caused by aging, snoring/sleep apnoea or as a side effect of certain medications.
Reduce your risk of a tooth infection by brushing twice a day, flossing daily and maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. If you’re experiencing a toothache, visit a dentist. The earlier you get treatment, the better.
Book a Dental Appointment in North Lakes Today
At Mango Hill Dental, we provide a wide range of restorative, preventative and cosmetic dentistry services in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Contact us today to book an appointment today at our clinic in North Lakes.