What Dental Professionals Need To Know About Facial Infections
Dental professionals can encounter facial infections during clinical examination of their patients. Heres what you need to know about how these infections form and when to refer for treatment.
How do facial infections develop, and are there any early signs before development?
There are several reasons why, or how, facial infections develop. By far the most common is from an infected or a decayed tooth that has gone unaddressed. Over time that infection essentially seeds or extends out through the root of the tooth and then grows within the bone, until it becomes so big that it breaks through the bone and gets into the soft tissues around the face, which is when you start to notice it develop into an infection or abscess.
The second most common cause of facial abscesses are skin-related hair follicles, especially in males who shave, but it can also happen less commonly in females. This type of infection is called folliculitis.
Are there any over-the-counter medications that would help with facial infections, and at what point should patients come in for a visit?
Any type of infection or precursor to infection, which in medical terms is called cellulitis, can happen anywhere in the body, including the face and the mouth. Cellulitis includes the four cardinal signs of inflammation: calor , dolor , rubor , and tumor .
Is there a home remedy for facial infections?
What Are The Causes Of Dental Abscess
Bacteria thrive in your mouth. Although your mouth has good bacteria, its also full of bad bacteria that can cause plaque. If you dont keep your teeth clean, bacteria in plaque can damage your teeth and gums causing tooth decay and gum disease. Although you can floss and brush your teeth regularly, you still need to visit your dentist for professional dental cleaning.
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Preventing Dental Infections With Good Dental Health
Preventing infections in your mouth will help you reduce your risk of developing sepsis. Usual recommendations are to visit your dentist twice a year for up-to-date x-rays, exams, and dental cleanings.
Good oral hygiene is the first basic step in promoting good dental health and preventing infections. Children should learn these habits early on to help them keep healthy mouths and teeth.
- Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day.
- Dont over brush brushing too hard or with too hard a brush can damage your teeth. Ask your dental hygienist for the best way for you to brush your teeth.
- Dont use your teeth to open packaging, break string, etc. Your teeth are strong, but they are for chewing food, not hard objects. These can crack, chip, or break teeth.
- Visit your dental office at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and check-up.
- If you have had dental work, watch for any signs of infection and contact your dentist if you experience any of the signs listed above.
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Make Sure You Avoid Problems In The Future By Improving Your Oral Care Routine
If you see your dentist regularly for checkups, you can control your risk for the kind of decay that demands a dental crown. This is because your smile is routinely being checked for decay your dentist can identify trouble before you start to experience symptoms. Your visits also include a thorough cleaning of your teeth, which can make you less likely to have problems with cavities. Of course, if you are worried about cavities, you can also take more time to properly brush and floss, and look for ways to cut down on your sugar intake.
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Providing Quick Relief For Pain
Many times, tooth pain only requires a prescription pain relief to ease the pain. Patients dont need to go to the nearest emergency department to get medicine for their toothache. They can feel free to consult with their dentist at any time of the day. The dental professional will prescribe them the medication needed to effectively cure the infection or pain. The most commonly prescribed medicine online is an antibacterial drug for abscesses or tooth infections.
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How Long Should I Take Antibiotics For My Tooth Infection
Always take prescription medication according to the schedule your doctor gives you.
Antibiotics for a tooth infection can be prescribed for 7 up to 14 days. This can vary depending on the severity and type of infection, so always be sure to follow your doctorâs specific instructions.
If you have a weakened immune system, youâre at greater risk for your infection spreading to other areas of your body. Itâs highly recommended that you start your antibiotic treatment as soon as possible.
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Causes Of Dental Infection
As mentioned earlier, dental infection is generally caused by bacteria invading your teeth and dental pulp. The dental pulp is your tooths innermost part that contains all the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues. The bacteria enter the root through a dental cavity or a crack in the tooth, spreading and making their way down to the bottom, causing infection, swelling, and a lot of pain.
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How Dentists Treat An Abscessed Tooth
When you seek urgent care for tooth abscess, your dentist will treat it or refer you to an endodontist, a specialist whos trained to work with abscessed teeth. The goal is to drain the infection and try to save the tooth. The procedures involved are very safe and focus solely on your comfort, health, and full recovery.
- Draining the abscess: After applying anesthesia, your dentist will make a small incision to the affected area, and use suction to drain the abscess. In rare cases, dental surgery may be required.
- Root canal: The best way to save your tooth is to perform a root canal. This involves drilling into your tooth to clean the pulp and the root canals that go down into your gums. After filling the empty spaces, youll either get a tooth filling or a crown. In both cases, your restored tooth will look and feel just like all your other teeth.
- Tooth extraction: If your tooth cannot be saved, your dentist or endodontist will remove the affected tooth. They will then discuss options to replace your missing tooth and fix your smile. This may include dental implants.
After the procedure, you may be prescribed antibiotics, especially if the infection has spread beyond the jaw area. Apply a warm, moist compress to the area to help keep swelling down, and rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times per day to stimulate local blood flow and help relieve pain.
How Are Tooth Infections Treated
To treat a tooth infection, a dentist will typically do one of the following: Open up and drain the abscess, perform a root canal, or pull the affected tooth. A doctor can also prescribe antibiotics to kill the infection before the tooth is dealt with by the dentist, to prevent the bacteria from spreading.
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Relieving Pain From A Dental Abscess
While youre waiting to see a dentist, painkillers can help control your pain.
Aspirin should not be given to children under 16.
If 1 painkiller does not relieve the pain, taking both paracetamol and ibuprofen at the doses shown in the medicine leaflet may help.
This is safe for adults, but not for children under 16.
It may also help to:
- avoid hot or cold food and drink if it makes the pain worse
- try eating cool, soft foods if possible, using the opposite side of your mouth
- use a soft toothbrush and temporarily avoid flossing around the affected tooth
These measures can help relieve your symptoms temporarily, but you should not use them to delay getting help from a dentist.
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When Are Antibiotics Used For A Tooth Infection
Tooth infections dont always require antibiotics. In many cases, they may clear up on their own. Rinsing with warm saltwater or taking over-the-counter medicines, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , may help to reduce tooth pain and swelling.
The American Dental Association recommends that dentists avoid prescribing antibiotics for most tooth infections due to potential side effects. Dental treatments, such as drainage, deep cleaning, or a root canal , may sometimes be necessary.
However, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics if you are immunocompromised or if your tooth infection is spreading. Some of the signs that your tooth infection is getting worse may include:
- Swelling in the jaw or neck
- Intense pain or swelling that does not go away
If left untreated, a tooth infection may spread to the surrounding bones and tissues. This can lead to serious health complications, including:
If you have a severe tooth infection, your dentist may prescribe a course of antibiotics to prevent it from spreading. Antibiotics may prevent tooth loss and other serious health complications.
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Surprising Effects Of An Infected Tooth
If youve had an infected tooth in the past, you know how painful it can be. But did you know that an infected tooth can affect your body and your overall health in unexpected ways? Tooth, gum, and mouth problems can cause severe pain and serious complications when left untreated, butnearly half of Americans fail to see their dentist every six months. While its never a smart idea to ignore any pain or infection in your body, an infected tooth can be serious and should always be treated by your dentist immediately, before it becomes a more serious problem. Read on to learn more about the dangers and also the suggested treatment of an infected tooth.
How Is An Abscessed Tooth Diagnosed
In addition to examining the tooth and surrounding tissue for signs of infection, your dentist may:
- Recommend an X-ray. This can help identify sources of dental disease that may have led to the infection. Your dentist can also use X-rays to determine if the infection has spread and may be affecting other areas.
- Recommend a CT scan. If the infection has spread to other areas within the neck, this will help to identify the extent of the infection.
- Tap and press on your teeth. A tooth with an abscess is often sensitive to touch or pressure.
- Thermal tests. These tests will help your dentist determine the health of your pulpal tissues.
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