How to Know If You Have an Infected Tooth

Have you been experiencing a nagging toothache? You could have an infected tooth. Otherwise known as a tooth abscess, an infected tooth is a pocket of pus that generally develops from a bacterial infection in the gums.

If left untreated, an infected tooth can destroy oral tissues and spread throughout the body. An abscessed tooth requires intervention from a dentist who may recommend draining the abscess. Treatment for an infected tooth may also involve a root canal or tooth extraction. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection.

Tooth infections can be quite severe. According to the National Library of Medicine, 1 in 2,600 people in the U.S. are admitted to hospitals each year due to dental abscesses. Learn more about dental abscesses and how to determine if you have an infected tooth.

What Is a Dental Abscess?

Dental abscesses usually form due to bacterial infections that cause pus to build up in the gums or soft pulp of the tooth. There are three main types of dental abscess, including:

  • Gingival Dental Abscess – This type of abscess forms in the gum tissue and does not affect the tooth.
  • Periodontal Dental Abscess – This type of abscess forms in the supporting bone tissue of the tooth.
  • Periapical Dental Abscess – This type of abscess forms in the soft pulp of the tooth.

What are the abscess Symptoms?

A tooth infection may start as decay or a cavity before developing into an infection. Dental abscesses can also be caused by persistent grinding, a poorly placed dental crown, or trauma to the tooth. Some of the most common symptoms that people with tooth infections experience include:

1. Root Toothache

The first symptom of an infected tooth is often a toothache. The pain may worsen when chewing or when the tooth is exposed to hot or cold temperatures. The pain may be constant, such as an ongoing throbbing sensation, or may occur intermittently.

2. Mouth Sores Due to Abscess

When a dental abscess develops at the root of a tooth and affects the gums, sores can develop. Pus, which develops as white blood cells try to fight the bacteria, may be excreted from these sores.

3. Tooth Sensitivity

Sensitivity to hot or cold is a common side effect of a tooth infection. This sensitivity generally develops when the layer of the tooth called the dentin is affected by decay.

4. Fever from Mouth Infection

As the infection progresses, you may develop a fever. An elevated body temperature is a sign that the body is fighting microbes with white blood cells.

5. Swelling Signs

Swelling of the jaw may occur if you have a tooth infection. The swelling is often accompanied by pain that radiates from the affected tooth down to the jaw area.

Schedule Your Dental Health Treatment Appointment

One of the most common questions about tooth infections is, “How long can a tooth infection go untreated?” If left untreated, a tooth infection can spread to other parts of the body within a few weeks or months. For more information about tooth abscess symptoms or to schedule an appointment, call Vero Elite Dentistry.