It is tempting to ignore that pain in your jaw and figure it will eventually go away. Or you might put it off until the timing is more convenient. But dental infections can become very serious very fast. Putting off seeing the dentist can be dangerous to do, and we will tell you why!
Causes of Dental Infection
Sometimes a tooth is hit and disrupts healthy blood flow to the tooth. Another cause of infection can be periodontal disease. But usually dental infections start as bacteria finds a way into the cracks and chips in teeth. This allows bacteria access the narrow canals that open the tooth’s blood and nerve supply. Whatever the cause, like other infections, pus starts to develop, and an abscess forms. An abscess is a pocket of pus caused by an infection. Other symptoms can include:
- A bubble of tissue under the painful tooth
- Sleep disturbance
- Swelling of the gums and surrounding tissues including the jaw, neck
- Difficulty chewing
- Sensitivity to heat and cold
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Bad breath
- Swollen glands
Outcomes of Infected Teeth
Some of these infections are acute (comes on quickly with sharp and severe pain), but some are chronic (linger for months with low-level pain). Although the pain level of chronic infections isn’t as intense, they can be more dangerous because the infection can spread for a longer time. Some may think that the worst outcome is the loss of the tooth, but the truth is an infected tooth can lead loss of bone in the jaw as well as allowing the infection to spread to other areas of the body.
The upper teeth connect to the facial vein, whose roots dump into the brain. Bacteria can spread to the brain through this blood flow. Sometimes infection in upper teeth causes the eye to swell shut. In lower teeth, infection can cause swelling in the throat and lead to a condition called Ludwig’s Angina. If left untreated long enough, an infected tooth can lead to hospitalization or even be fatal!
Sometimes the dentist can perform a root canal and save the tooth, otherwise, the tooth must be removed. Often, the dentist prescribes an antibiotic to clear up the infection. Remember, the best treatment is prevention! But if you are in need, Emergency Dental is always ready to provide the care that you need at the time you need it. We even have convenient payment plans so there is never an excuse to put off a dental emergency!
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Dr. Roberto Monteagudo is an expert in advanced dentistry, full mouth reconstruction, neuromuscular dentistry and sedation dentistry. He attended the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies from 1999 to 2006 and graduated from Marquette University, School of Dentistry in 1990. Dr. Monteagudo speaks frequently throughout the Wisconsin area on advancements in dentistry and patient education. Dr. Roberto Monteagudo lives in Milwaukee with his lovely wife, Gina, and their seven children whom they make a top priority. He also enjoys outdoor activities and is deeply committed to giving back to his community through charitable events. His warmth and caring combined with his commitment to patient comfort through sedation dentistry, leading edge, gentle, and non-invasive technologies is the reason that his patients travel long distances to see him.