How can you tell if your tooth is infected?

Categories: Educational

A tooth infection may not always present itself as painful swelling, it may slowly progress over time and cause tooth loss by doing irreparable damage to your tooth. It may progress from a mere discoloration on the tooth surface to a full-blown dental abscess that may require a root canal or even tooth extraction. Here is a quick guide on how to tell if you have a tooth infection and what to do if you suspect one.

What is a tooth infection?

Any infection is a build-up of bacteria causing tissue damage in the process. A dental infection is, likewise, bacterial contamination of dental tissues such as the pulp that houses the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth. A cavity is caused when the oral bacteria release acids that are a by-product of the decomposition of food that accumulates on the tooth surface. If left untreated, this cavity progresses to infect the inner layers of the tooth and eventually reaches the nerves and blood vessels. 

How is tooth infection different from gum infection?

A tooth infection is seen in the form of tooth decay such as dental caries whereas a gum infection is primarily caused by the plaque that accumulates on the surface of the tooth. However, it is only a dental professional who will decide whether the infection is of the tooth or of the gums since the signs and symptoms of a tooth infection may mimic those of a gum disease.

What causes a tooth infection?

There are many factors that may lead to a tooth infection, some of which are-

– poor oral hygiene- if you compromise with your oral hygiene measures, you will invite a tooth infection

– poor food choices- foods high in sugar such as colas will expedite the tooth decay and cause infection in no time. 

– certain medications- certain medicines decrease the production of saliva thereby causing tooth infection

What are the signs and symptoms of a tooth infection?

Visit your dentist at Royal Dental Practice if you observe any of the below mentioned signs and symptoms-

  1. An intense, throbbing pain that diverges onto the adjoining head and neck areas such as the ears and jaw joint.
  2. An extra-oral or an intra-oral swelling that is tender or non-tender, whether increasing in size or not, needs to be reported to your dentist.
  3. Metallic or foul taste in the mouth.
  4. Foul smell from your mouth.
  5. Painful chewing or difficulty speaking or breathing.
  6. Sensitivity to hot or cold.
  7. Tooth discoloration.
  8. Fever with or without chills, nausea and headache.
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