Check If You Have A Dental Abscess
Signs of a dental abscess include:
- intense toothache or pain in your gums
- redness inside the mouth, or outside the mouth on the face or jaw
- sensitivity to hot or cold food and drink in the affected area
- a bad taste in your mouth
- difficulty opening your mouth and chewing food
- a swollen face or jaw
- a high temperature
Do Abscesses Go Away After A Tooth Extraction
After a tooth extraction an abscess will go away because you’ve removed the source of the infection and also established a path of drainage. However, you can speed up the healing process and get rid of the abscess faster by popping it and taking the full course of antibiotics in addition to the extraction.
When To Call A Dentist
A tooth infection happens when bacteria get into the tooth through a cavity, a chip, or a crack. Infections in the teeth can spread to other teeth, your jaw, or your gums. If a tooth infection is left untreated, it can have serious health consequences, so its important that you see a dentist to treat it promptly if you have the symptoms of a tooth infection.
Natural remedies can help you manage the symptoms of a tooth infection but you still need to see a dentist about the infection. The dentist can take X-rays to determine if you need a root canal and see how bad the damage from the infection is. You may also need a course of antibiotics. You should call a dentist as soon as you suspect that you have an infected tooth.
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How To Cure A Tooth Infection
If you have signs and symptoms of a tooth infection, it is important to call your dentist as soon as possible. Dentists can help in a few ways, but remember that this infection will not go away on its own- treatment is necessary.
If you notice the symptoms go away, and you are no longer in pain, this does not mean the infection is gone. An infection can eventually kill the nerves that cause pain in your tooth, meaning you wont feel it anymore. The infection is still present and can potentially spread to your body and damage the surrounding teeth and your gums.
- A dentist or endodontist can perform a root canal, which is a procedure in which the infected pulp in your teeth is removed to prevent further infection.
Home Remedies To Reduce The Pain
While you are waiting to see your dentist, you can try these home remedies to reduce the pain:
- Avoid hot or cold foods and drinks. Changes in the temperature may cause extreme pain.
- Avoid eating acidic or sugary foods.
- Donât chew on the affected side and avoid hard foods.
- Eat cool, soft foods if possible.
- Keep your head elevated during sleep. Because the blood rushes to your head when you lie down, causing extreme pain that keeps you awake.
- Donât floss around the affected tooth and use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Use over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol.
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Why Antibiotics Dont Cure Tooth Infections
Oral health is vitally important to your overall health. When you are suffering from a tooth infection, you may want an easy solution, such as a course of antibiotics. However, antibiotics wont cure your tooth infection.
Oral bacterial infections cause abscesses, which are small pockets of pus and dead tissue in the mouth. Often times they look like swollen tissue or a pimple on your gums. This usually occurs near the base of the tooth where the roots are. Tooth decay due to poor oral hygiene, failing dental work, trauma or a cracked tooth are ways bacteria can infect your tooth. When bacteria enter the roots, they use your nerve tissue and blood vessels as a food source. They begin to multiply and spread, and the result is a dental infection.
At this point, most patients believe antibiotics are necessary, however, your endodontist knows differently. Due to the anatomy of the tooth, bacteria become trapped in the roots. Without proper cleaning, such as through root canal therapy, the infection will remain and potentially spread to the jaw or even the brain. A draining, cleaning, or possibly even tooth extraction is needed to fully remove a bacterial tooth infection.
Why not antibiotics? There are several reasons antibiotics alone will not cure the infection. The blood vessels that once supplied the inside of the tooth with your bodys antibacterial defenses have been destroyed. Therefore, the antibiotics cannot reach the inside of the tooth to cure your infection.
An Impacted Wisdom Tooth
Impaction happens when a persons jaw has insufficient room for a wisdom tooth to erupt, in a situation referred to as tooth crowding.
Wisdom teeth may only emerge partially from the gum line or they can become trapped beneath it.
Either way, this can lead to inflammation of the gums and infection around the wisdom teeth. Sometimes soft tissue forms over the partially erupted wisdom tooth and is known as an operculum.
An operculum isnt always good for your mouth because it tends to trap food particles causing bacteria to thrive. This, in turn, causes an infection which is often followed by an abscess that forms beneath the operculum. If the abscess isnt treated, the infection spreads and progresses into pericoronitis. In severe cases, this can be extremely painful leaving the patient to call for an emergency dentist.
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Swollen Or Tender Lymph Nodes
The lymphatic system runs throughout the body and acts as a waste removal system, getting rid of cellular waste. When there is infection or inflammation in the body the lymph nodes can swell or become hard. If you suddenly have lumps under your jaw or in your neck that are hard to the touch, you may have inflamed lymph nodes, which could mean you have an infection.
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What Happens If The Infection Spreads
There is little chance that a tooth infection will spread to other parts of the body. Patients that have any of the below symptoms should call our office right away. Infections that spread can be life threatening and should be taken seriously.
- Swelling around the face or mouth
Pain that does not subside
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How Dental Insurance Can Help
Dental emergencies happen. Even if you are practicing good dental hygiene and you take care of your teeth, you can still end up with an infected tooth that needs to be dealt with right away. Dental insurance can help cover the costs of things like X-rays, exams, and other treatments, as well as more expensive care like root canals.
This is not dental care advice and should not be substituted for regular consultation with your dentist. If you have any concerns about your dental health, please contact your dentistâs office.
Taking Antibiotics Clears Out The Abscess Faster
Antibiotics may not be the primary method of treatment for a tooth abscess but taking them in conjunction with an extraction and drainage will certainly speed up the healing process. It ensures that any remaining bacteria will get eliminated and also helps in preventing the infection from recurring.
There are instances where after treatment, the infection comes back and using antibiotics can help decrease the chances of that happening.
With that being said, it is not always necessary to take antibiotics so your doctor may not prescribe it for you. That is the case if your healthcare provider is absolutely certain that they cleared out the abscess with an extraction and drainage. If they have any doubts about all of the infection being removed, they will give you a course of antibiotics.
Therefore whether you need antibiotics or not afterwards will all depend on the severity of the abscess. As healthcare professionals, we not only have to take into account risk of infection but also risk of developing antibiotic resistance. We cannot over prescribe medications because it could be detrimental to your health in the future. It is a more holistic approach to treatment.
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What Risk Factors Can Lead To Complications From An Abscess
There are several risk factors that can increase your chances of having complications from a dental abscess, including:
- It can potentially take several months for a dental abscess to develop.
- Once an abscess has formed, noticeable pain and swelling around the affected tooth usually occur.
- If left untreated, it may take a few more weeks or months for the infection to spread to other tissues and cause complications. However, once this has happened, death can occur quickly.
- Factors like older age, having diabetes, or being immunocompromised can increase your risk of complications from a dental abscess.
Overall, these facts underline the importance of seeking prompt medical care if youre experiencing persistent pain or swelling around a tooth. When treated early, most tooth infections can be resolved without serious complications.
Are Tooth Infections Dangerous
Thanks to improved dental hygiene, modern dentistry, and antibiotics, tooth infections are rarely life-threatening.
However, the longer you wait to get your infection treated, the more likely it is that the infection can spread to other areas, such as the jawbone, cheek, neck, and beyond.
In very rare cases, the infection can travel to the bloodstream, heart, or brain, which can be life-threatening.
For this reason, its important to seek medical attention as soon as you experience any of the symptoms of a tooth infection, and especially important to see a dentist for regular preventative care.
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Why Can Dental Infections Be Deadly
Most people arent aware that an infection in the mouth can spread easily. In fact in worst cases such an infection can migrate to the brain or other parts of the body. Once this has happened the infection is extremely dangerous and may even be untreatable. Even something as simple as a cracked tooth can put you at risk if infection spreads to the tooth pulp and beyond. Often, people are unaware that they have a chip or crack in their tooth that can allow bacteria inside. By the time the chip or crack is identified, the damage is already done.
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Ways To Tell If You Are Living With An Infected Tooth
Are you suffering from a debilitating toothache? Perhaps youve noticed a little gum or jaw swelling, or your tooth seems to be a different color? It could be a serious tooth infection.
Your teeth are packed with nerves. Thats why a toothache, though it may only affect one part of your mouth, is excruciating. Whats more, the pain may sometimes be related to a deeper oral health issue.
If your tooth feels sore, sensitive, or youre experiencing sharp pains in your mouth, you may have a tooth infection or a tooth abscess.
Why a tooth becomes infected
There are a number of causes of tooth infections. One of the most common causes is older root canals. When you have a root canal, your dental professional removes a nerve from the affected tooth. Unfortunately, bacteria can grow in that area, leading to an infection that your body struggles to fight off.
Its important to recognize the signs of an infection, so you can seek immediate treatment.
How to tell if your tooth is infected
How to cure a tooth infection
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Can Home Remedies Help Treat A Tooth Infection
While waiting to receive treatment, you can try the following home remedies to help ease symptoms:
- Try over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen , naproxen , or acetaminophen .
- Eat soft foods, and try to chew on the opposite side of your mouth from where the infection is located.
- Avoid foods and drinks that may irritate the infected tooth, such as those that are:
- very hot or very cold
The home remedies above are only for use when youre awaiting medical attention for your tooth infection. They shouldnt be used as a substitute for seeking treatment.
How Do I Prepare For An Appointment With My Dentist For An Abscessed Tooth
To help you get ready for your appointment:
- Make a list of your symptoms include any that may seem unrelated to your tooth or mouth pain. Remember, your dentist can only help you when they know everything going on.
- Make a list of medications, vitamins, herbs or supplements you may be taking with the dosages of each.
You should prepare a list of questions to ask your dentist, including:
- Whats likely causing my symptoms and condition?
- Which tests do you recommend?
- What is the best course of action?
- Are there alternative to the primary
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Remember, your dentist wants to help keep you and your teeth healthy. Just like other medical professionals you may see, theyre an important part of the healthcare team. Be sure to see your dentist routinely and dont put off regular checkups prevention is key! These visits give your dentist a chance to spot problems early, when they may be easier to treat. If you are experiencing pain, its important to see your dentist to get the care you need.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/24/2020.
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How I Cured My Tooth Infection In 3 Days Without Antibiotics
A few days ago I developed a rather nasty tooth infection with nagging pain. And it was spreading too The infection started where I had a root canal treatment 4 years ago. I wasnt lucky since the treatment was done really badly, and an infection which developed, as a result, made me suffer for quite some time. The gum flared up and became swollen. I had to take antibiotics for it twice.
I was advised to have the root canal treatment re-done, but have been too scared to do so, having read that such treatments are rarely successful. So I am still in the thinking mode about it. Maybe the tooth will have to go since apart from the chronic inflammation, there is also a cosmetic problem the tooth has become discoloured.
But back to what happened a few days ago. The infection developed during the Easter holiday, so I had about 4 days to wait for my dental surgery to reopen. I knew that it would be antibiotics again, and didnt want to go that route. So I decided to try an alternative, which happened to be ginger. I read a lot about its antibacterial properties, but have never experienced them on myself.
On day 3 the pain was almost gone, but I kept chewing ginger, even though not as often about twice a day. Its day 6 now, and I am happy to report that my pain is not there anymore. Its gone. So ginger has worked, and its not just some post Ive read somewhere. It worked for me, which is why I am writing this post, and I want to share my experience with you.
The Difference Between An Abscess And An Infection
A tooth infection can take the form of a cavity, pulpitis, or an abscess. Yes, a dental cavity is an infection. It causes the enamel, or hard surface, of the tooth to begin to break down. This can be painful, if it happens quickly, but many cavities dont cause symptoms.
If the infection extends into the middle of the tooth the pulp it causes pulpitis. This usually causes a toothache, which can be aggravated by hot and cold foods and liquids.
Finally, if the infection is not treated and continues to spread, it can form an abscess. After the infection has spread through the middle of the tooth and has nowhere else to go, it forms a pocket of pus, which is an abscess.
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Even Without Symptoms The Infection Wont Go Away Without Treatment
If you have a tooth infection but dont have any symptoms, you might think its okay to forgo treatment. However, even if you arent having any symptoms, the tooth abscess and infection wont go away without treatment .
The infection will eventually get worse, or, if you have another illness that requires your immune systems attention, you may suddenly be symptomatic. Severe tooth infections rarely happen overnighttypically, these infections have been occurring for some time and are just now presenting symptoms.
Getting treatment is essential because the infection can spread to the tissues around the tooth, and may even enter the bloodstream, at which point it can become life-threatening .