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How To Tell Tooth Infection

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Oral Soft Tissue Infection

Dentist reveals – How To Tell If You Have Chronic Tooth Infection

An infection in one of the teeth that has roots leading to the sinus area can result in a sinus infection. This condition can be very painful and difficult to treat once it sets in.

Furthermore, any soft tissue inside the mouth and its surroundings are vulnerable to being affected by the infection.

When the abscess spreads to these areas, this can cause several complications ranging from problems with the airway to facial cellulite.

Surrounding Bone Gets Infected

The bones in our face are unable to tolerate the presence of an infection for a long time.

Leaving an infection to spread to your facial bones may eventually necessitate surgical removal to stop it.

Even in minor cases, a tooth infection can cause the bone structures of your jaw to weaken, making it hard to support your teeth.

How Does A Dentist Check For Infection

An X-ray of the aching tooth can help identify an abscess. Your dentist may also use X-rays to determine whether the infection has spread, causing abscesses in other areas. Recommend a CT scan. If the infection has spread to other areas within the neck, a CT scan may be used to assess the extent of the infection.

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How To Spot A Tooth Infection: Prevention

Now that you know the causes and the symptoms associated with tooth infections and cavities, be sure to take the proper actions to prevent future tooth infections. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing and using mouthwash. It is also advisable to replace your toothbrush regularly and to attend your dental appointments. Lastly, be mindful of the amount of sugar that you put in your mouth and drink a lot of water.

When To Contact A Doctor Or Dentist

Signs of Gum Disease

A person should contact a dentist at the first sign of a tooth infection. Early treatment stops the infection from spreading further.

If a tooth infection has spread, it is considered a medical emergency. These infections can quickly become widespread and severe. In some cases, systemic infections can even be life threatening.

A person should contact a dentist for an emergency appointment as soon as possible. If there are no dentists available, a person should visit the emergency department of their nearest hospital.

The type of treatment a person receives for a tooth infection depends on several factors, including:

  • the initial location of the abscess
  • whether, and to what extent, the infection has spread
  • the extent of the immune systems reaction to the infection

Some possible treatments for a tooth infection include the following.

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Cellulitis And Facial Cellulitis

Cellulitis is an infection of the skin. Facial cellulitis, for example, can be caused by infections of the upper respiratory tract, middle ear infections or tooth abscesses. Although these conditions can increase the risk of facial cellulitis, they do not directly cause it the condition results when an infection spreads to the skin. Symptoms of facial cellulitis include:

  • Swollen, red skin on the face, especially the cheek
  • Itching and burning of the affected skin
  • A painful, possibly swollen, tongue

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have cellulitis or a tooth abscess, you can start a free symptom assessment right now using the Ada app.

When To See A Doctor

A person should see their dentist at the first sign of a tooth infection. Early treatment will help prevent the infection from spreading into other tissues.

A tooth infection that has spread is a medical emergency. Such infections can quickly become widespread and severe. Systemic infections can be life threatening.

A person should contact a dentist for an emergency appointment as soon as possible. If there are no dentists available, a person should visit the emergency department of their nearest hospital.

A dentist or doctor will provide treatments to target the infection and stop it from spreading further.

The type of treatment that a person receives for a tooth infection will depend on several factors, including:

  • the initial location of the abscess
  • whether, and to what extent, the infection has spread
  • the extent of the immune systems reaction to the infection

Possible treatments for a tooth infection include those below.

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When To Call A Dentist

If you have the symptoms of a tooth infection, its vital to visit a dentist for prompt treatment. Natural remedies will help ease the pain, but you still need to see a dentist about the infection. The dentist can take x-rays to ascertain if you need root canaltreatment and gauge the severity of the condition. You may also need a course of antibiotics.

Even if your tooth extraction is simple and straightforward, there is a chance of complications. One of the more serious complications is tooth extraction infection, a painful condition that can lead to sepsis. Worldwide, sepsis is fatal in a third of the people who contract it, with survivors sometimes suffering lasting health issues that include PTSD and chronic pain. Dont let it go that far. Here are eight signs of tooth extraction infection .

Gum Abscess Complications Leading To Extraction

A Tooth Infection Can Be Deadly â ï¸?Dental Abscess Pus Drainage

In the case of periapical and periodontal abscess treatment, if the infection has spread into the jaw bone or periodontal ligament it may be necessary to extract one or more teeth. Extraction is a last resort, though, and will only be done if the dentist judges the bone to be too far eroded to support the teeth.

With periodontal abscess treatment, the dentist will first carry out a deep cleaning of the gum pocket. He or she can then assess the extent of the infection. Oral x-rays will also reveal how far the infection has spread.

The abscess may have caused the tooth to become loose, and in this case an extraction may be the only solution. The same is true if a significant part of the tooth has been resorbed because of untreated infection.

Extraction may also be necessary in cases where re-infection occurs after abscess removal, or when infection occurs in a tooth that has already undergone root canal treatment. Mouth abscess treatment is usually carried out under local anaesthetic. If extensive treatment is needed, a general anaesthetic may be administered.

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How Can A Tooth Get Infected

Chips, cracks, or cavities are all ways that a healthy tooth can become infected. Additionally, certain factors may put you at greater risk for suffering from a tooth infection:

  • Consuming high amounts of sugar. High sugar intake can cause cavities, one of the main ways tooth abscesses form.
  • Dry mouth. Certain medications and aging cause dry mouth, which puts you at risk for infections because it increases the likelihood of tooth decay.
  • Inadequate dental care. Not taking care of your teeth can have lots of negative consequences.

Root Canal Treatment For Abscessed Teeth

Periapical abscesses can often be treated with a root canal. This involves drilling down through the crown of the tooth to access the infected pulp chamber. The dentist drains the pus from the abscess, cleans and disinfects the cavity, and applies a filling material. If the tooth has been weakened, a dental crown can help prolong its life.

Read more about the root canal procedure, or watch this short video to see how it is conducted:

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How To Spot A Tooth Infection: Health Risks

If you do not spot a tooth infection early, it can lead to some serious health problems. Unfortunately, tooth infections do not go away on their own, so make sure to see a dentist as soon as you can. If a tooth infection is not taken care of as soon as possible, the infection can move to the jaw and neck or contaminate your blood causing sepsis which is an infection that can cause organ failure and death. Make sure to see a dentist as soon as you spot a tooth infection in order to avoid any further complications with your health.

There Are Some Minor Dental Problems That May Not Need Urgent Attention But A Dental Infection Is Not One Of Them

I Think I Have a Dead Tooth  What Do I Do?

If a dental infection or an abscess is left untreated you could end up losing teeth, risking some of the bone in your jaw, or end up with an infection in other areas of your body if the infection spreads. Dental infections are common and 90% of adults over 20 have some form of tooth decay, which can lead to a tooth infection.¹

In most cases, dental infections may be easy to treat, but its important to get treatment and eliminate the cause of the infection. If you start to have pain in a tooth or gums, or if you think that you might have a dental infection, you should get looked at by a dentist as soon as possible.

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Symptoms Of Tooth Infection Spreading To The Body

When left untreated, an infection in your tooth can make its way to other areas of the bodyand to be clear, just because an abscess has ruptured doesnt mean its gone. A rupture is actually the first sign that the infection is spreading, and the abscess still needs to be adequately drained.

If left untreated, the infection can enter your jaw and hitch a ride to other areas of your body. The infection can even spread to your bloodstream and cause sepsis. Sepsis is a life-threatening response to an infection in your body that causes the chemicals that fight infection to be thrown out of whack. It also produces changes that can damage several organs.

  • Blurry or gray vision

Brain abscesses are life-threatening, so if you suspect you have one, seek medical attention immediately. This infection can disturb the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain, and it may also rupture, which creates a dire situation. Brain abscesses require treatment in a hospital thats usually a combination of antibiotics and, depending on the size, surgery.

What Happens If Tooth Infection Spreads To Jaw

If the abscess ruptures, the pain may decrease significantly but you still need dental treatment. If the abscess doesnt drain, the infection may spread to your jaw and to other areas of your head and neck. You might even develop sepsis a life-threatening infection that spreads throughout your body.

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How Does A Tooth Become Infected

The mouth is full of bacteria from plaque, food, and saliva that can sometimes enter into the tooth or below the gumline. This results in a tooth infection, also known as a tooth abscess, which is a collection of pus and bacteria that forms inside the tooth or gum.

The risk for developing a tooth infection increases with:

  • Poor oral hygiene

What Happens If I Dont See The Dentist And My Tooth Is Infected

Treatment of Abscessed Teeth

If left untreated, the body will try to fight the infection through your immune system response. This means you may experience a raised temperature or high fever, swelling to the affected area and a reddening of the gums.

You can experience these signs without actually feeling any pain or toothache. You may even notice an unpleasant taste in your mouth or you develop bad breath, despite brushing your teeth regularly.

If you know that you have a chipped, cracked or broken tooth, infections can set in and go undetected for quite a while deep within your tooth without you realising it. Some people have been surprised to discover that they are carrying a tooth infection after their dentist detected it during their regular dental check-up.

This is why it is so important to look out for symptoms other than a painful toothache that could indicate an infection is present. Even a minor cavity can progress to a tooth infection rapidly if left unchecked.

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What Is A Dental Abscess

An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms within body tissues. Abscesses are the result of an infection, generally bacterial, localized in the area where the abscess forms. They are almost always accompanied by swelling and inflammation. Dental abscesses are abscesses affecting the teeth and adjacent jaw tissue.

Each tooth is made up of several layers. The outermost layer is the enamel, which covers a softer layer, the dentin. The dentin and enamel are the toothâs protective layers. Underneath the dentin is the pulp, where the toothâs nerves and blood vessels are situated. The pulp runs down the center of the root of the tooth, which connects the tooth to the underlying bone of the upper or lower jaw. Infections in the pulp can therefore easily spread into the bone of the jaw. Likewise, if the gum around the tooth becomes infected, the tooth is at risk of damage as well. Some abscesses affect the pulp first and spread to the bone, while others affect the surrounding tissues of the gum and do not start in the pulp.

Treatment for dental abscesses involves draining the pus from the tooth and filling or removing the tooth to prevent re-infection.

There are two major subtypes of dental abscess: periapical and periodontal.

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Tooth Infection Treatment Options

Depending on the cause of the tooth infection, treatment may include:

Dental Abscess Treatment

During this procedure, your dentist will make a small incision into your gums and drain the abscess. They will drain all of the pus out before stitching it back up to ensure the bacteria is removed.

If your tooth is severely damaged or decayed, extraction will likely be necessary. Youll need a dental implant after the tooth is surgically removed, which can cost up to $4,000.

Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment is necessary if you have a large cavity that has spread to the tooths pulp. This treatment can also involve abscess draining.

During the procedure, your dentist will remove the infected dental pulp and drain the abscess.

The root canal is cleaned, shaped, and sealed. Then a dental crown is placed on top of the root canal treated tooth.


Antibiotics are commonly prescribed to treat dental abscesses. After the abscess is drained, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to clear up the remaining infection. Antibiotics alone do not cure abscesses.

Depending on the severity of your abscess or infection, you may need oral antibiotics or IV antibiotics.


If you have a root canal-treated tooth but are still experiencing a toothache an apicoectomy may be necessary. This is a minor dental surgery that removes the apex .

If you develop sepsis, youll need to visit an ICU . Fluids and IV antibiotics will be used to treat this condition.


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Loss Of Infected Tooth

Leaving an abscessed tooth without treatment can cause it to become weak, and you will eventually lose it. But if a tooth infection is treated early, you can get a root canal procedure and a crown to save it.

In severe cases, tooth replacements using dental implants are going to be necessary if you wish to restore normal oral function.

However, an implant can only be supported once the infection has been eliminated from the surrounding area.

Youre more likely to develop tooth infections if you:

  • Smoke: Smokers are about twice as likely to get tooth infections as nonsmokers.
  • Have dry mouth: Bacteria thrive in a mouth with a low amount of saliva.
  • Have poor dental hygiene: Regularly brushing, flossing and getting dental cleanings reduces bacteria.
  • Have a weakened immune system: Diseases or medications can lower your immune response, making it harder to fight off germs.

Signs Of Tooth Infection Spreading To Body


To understand what a tooth infection feels like and how to recognize when it is starting to spread throughout the body, you should be aware of the general symptoms that you will first encounter. A tooth infection may be mild and not very painful, or the symptoms may be severe. Either way, it is important to get in touch with your local dental professional if you have any of the following:

  • Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, especially food and drinks
  • Pain that radiates from the tooth outward
  • Swelling in the cheeks or gums
  • Constant bad breath
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Pressure or pain when biting down

These symptoms indicate an underlying oral health issue. Get in touch with your dentist so you can wipe out any signs of infection before it spreads.

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Do You Have A Tooth Infection

Here at Jenson Family Dental, we have all the resources available to help you prevent and remove tooth infections and abscesses. If you have more questions regarding tooth infections or what preventative measures you can take to avoid getting a tooth infection, we are happy to help. For more information or to get a tooth infection looked at, contact us today!

What Can I Do For An Infected Tooth

First, youll need to schedule an appointment with our emergency dentist in Shelby Charter Township, MI. Our dentist is available to answer any questions you might have and can diagnose you properly if your tooth is infected.

The first and most important step you can take is going to your dentist as soon as possible. In the time before you see your dentist you can:

  • Brush your teeth after every meal
  • Drink sage & chamomile tea
  • Swish saltwater 2 to 3 times a day
  • Apply an ice pack

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