To leave a tooth infection untreated can have some very serious consequences to your health. It’s very important that as soon as you notice the symptoms of a tooth infection, or abscess, developing in your mouth you must go immediately to the dentist and receive the proper treatment.
A tooth abscess can appear in several places inside your mouth; such as at the root of the tooth or between the tooth and the gum.
If that abscess ruptures, the bacteria and pus inside it can spread and damage the surrounding bone, neighboring teeth, and even the bloodstream, in which case it means that it can travel to other parts of your body, including your brain, heart, and other vital organs.
If it does rupture, the sharp pain that is often associated with the abscess will usually decrease or even go away altogether, which can lead to making the person believe that there’s no need to see the dentist anymore.
But in reality, if this happens, it’s even more crucial that they see a dentist as soon as possible. Like stated before, the bacteria can easily spread to other areas and even cause a very dangerous infection called sepsis.
How do I know if I have an abscess or tooth infection?
Some of the most common symptoms for an abscess include:
- A sharp, throbbing, shooting, and severe pain in the tooth that won’t go away.
- Swelling of the face.
- Swollen lymph glands in the neck or jaw.
- Extreme sensitivity when chewing or too cold and hot temperatures.
- A swollen area that resembles a pimple or a small lump in the gum of the tooth.
- A sudden bitter tasting and foul-smelling fluid in your mouth at the same time that the pain goes away (this happens when the abscess has ruptured).
It’s important to seek treatment from your dentist if you have any of these symptoms. Failure to do so can not only risk having the infection spread but also it can mean the difference between saving your tooth and having it extracted.
A quick diagnosis can mean just having a root canal treatment and a week of antibiotics or it can mean losing the entire tooth and complicating matters more by adding that extra risk of further infection.
How do I know if the infection is spreading?
If you suspect that the tooth infection is spreading, you must seek emergency medical attention. The longer you wait, it will become more difficult to treat and increase the risk to your overall health. Some of the symptoms of the infection spreading include:
- Fever or low body temperature.
- General malaise or feeling “under the weather”.
- A headache.
- Swelling of the face and neck.
- Chills or shivers.
- Fast breathing.
- Fast heartbeat.
- Hot and cold flushes.
- Abdominal pain.
- Low urine output.
- Diarrhea or vomiting.
- Change in mental status or agitation.
If the bacteria have entered the bloodstream, then sepsis is a very real complication that can occur. After performing a number of tests, your doctor will determine if that’s the case and if so, will most likely place in the ICU in the hospital.
Through intravenous medication, they will try to stop the infection, regulate your blood pressure and prevent vital organs from malfunctioning.