How to Tell if you Have a Tooth Infection

Although our teeth are some of the strongest bones in our body, they can also be very delicate and highly sensitive. Each tooth is composed of many nerves and when these are affected, they can cause a lot of pain. Tooth infections mostly all start with a basic toothache. We all know the feeling of waking up with soreness or sharp pains in your tooth and how debilitating the pain can be. It’s important to not ignore a toothache. It may signal a much bigger tooth infection problem. Here’s how to tell if you have a tooth infection.

If you have a toothache that won’t quit, reach out to the OC Dental Specialists. As a top dentist in Irvine, we specialize in treating tooth infections.

Tooth Infection Symptoms

Symptoms of a tooth infection vary for everyone but there are some general things you should look out for. The first sign is a throbbing tooth. If you wake up with a sore tooth, there’s likely a bigger problem underneath. You may also experience some pain or soreness in the jawbone, ear, or neck. In addition, sometimes this pain worsens when you’re lying down. In some cases, you may also find that you develop a very bad taste in your mouth that doesn’t seem to go away with brushing or flossing.

Infections are also usually accompanied by a fever and some redness or swelling. This happens as your body is trying to fight it off. Look for swollen lymph nodes as well and watch out for sensitivity to hot or cold food.

The most important thing to look out for is making sure the infection doesn’t spread to the rest of your body. If you develop a fever or experience an increased heart rate, trouble breathing, or swallowing, you should seek immediate medical attention. If the infection spreads to your jawbone, there could be irreparable consequences.

How Does it Happen?

A tooth infection usually occurs when bacteria get into a crack in a tooth or a cavity. When tooth decay gets left untreated, it’s easier for bacteria to get into the enamel. This causes an infection in the nerves and pulp tissue. When the bacteria reaches the pulp tissue it’s called an abscess. Abscesses must be treated immediately, as the infection just worsens over time. People who have molars deep molars are more susceptible to cavities and thus more susceptible to infection.

The likelihood of getting a tooth infection increases if you don’t brush or floss your teeth twice a die, eat a high sugar diet or often have dry mouth.

What to Do

Depending on the severity of the toothache, you should call your dentist to schedule an appointment. Even if the toothache isn’t severe, it’s best to take precautionary measure before the ache can get worse and turn into a serious infection. If you’re experiencing a fever or other harsh symptoms, you may want to check yourself into urgent care to get the swelling down quickly. In the meantime, you can practice a few soothing techniques for toothaches such as avoiding chewing in the area, avoiding hot or cold food/drinks, and taking some ibuprofen to help with the pain.

Tooth Infection Prevention

Preventing a tooth infection is as easy as practicing good oral hygiene. Make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once, take note of the sugary foods and drinks you consume and adjust if necessary, avoid smoking, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and be sure to get regular dental check-ups every 6 months.

Tooth infections can turn into a very serious, life-threatening matter if they aren’t properly taken care of. If you are suffering from a toothache, call OC Dental Specialists (949-274-7677) today to get yourself on the path to healthy and happy.