The Urgency of Dental Infections

“A stich in time saves nine” may be an old saying, but there’s a reason why it is still cited today. One very practical example of this adage is in dental infections. Also known as a tooth abscess, these infections should never be taken lightly. Dentistry at Rea Village in Charlotte, NC takes dental infections very seriously and so should you. An untreated abscess can lead to life threatening conditions.

You may develop an abscess if you allow a tooth cavity to go untreated. When a tooth is broken, chipped, or otherwise injured, an opening in the tooth enamel allows bacteria to infect the center of the tooth, known as the pulp, creating an infection. You experience a toothache when the infection causes a buildup of pus and tissue swelling within the tooth.

Infection results in a buildup of pus and tissue swelling within the tooth.

The most common symptom of infection is a severe, continuous toothache, but the infection can also cause a bitter taste in your mouth, bad breath, fever, sensitivity to cold or hot, swelling of the gum over the tooth, swollen glands or, in severe cases, swelling of the upper or lower jaw.

The goals of treatment are to cure the infection, save the tooth, and prevent complications.
Your dentist might prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection. If you have a severe infection, your tooth may be removed, or you may need surgery to drain the abscess.

It’s important to note that a tooth abscess won’t go away without treatment. The abscess may rupture, which could decrease the pain, but you still need dental treatment. If the abscess doesn’t drain, the infection could 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.

Prompt treatment cures the infection in most cases, and the tooth can often be saved. So take that first stitch; those additional nine stitches may be more than you bargained for. If you think you may have a dental infection schedule your dental visit immediately by calling 704-846-1401.

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