If you have ever had a toothache, you know that it can make it hard to function or focus on your day-to-day obligations. Once you notice pain in a tooth, pay attention because it means that the tooth root is likely inflamed and irritated. This can quickly lead to infection, tooth decay and even tooth loss unless it is treated. But that is not the only reason you should never ignore a toothache. Tooth pain is a sign of bacterial infection that can spread into your bloodstream, harming your body and brain.
The root cause of a tooth infection is the accumulation of oral bacteria that attacks teeth and gums. While your mouth houses more than six billion bacteria, some of which can promote good health, there are disease-causing bacteria in the mix as well. That is why daily brushing and flossing are so important, as they keep the harmful bacteria levels in your mouth manageable. So, what could be the cause of your tooth pain?
Causes of Toothache
- Lax oral hygiene, allowing bacteria to flourish
- Not brushing enough
- Overindulging in sugar-laden foods and drinks
- Infection that allows bacteria in the mouth to thrive
- Untreated tooth decay that works its way to the tooth pulp, infecting the nerves
If you find yourself with a toothache, seek help as soon as possible because the infection from cavities can spread into your bloodstream. If that happens, your body will be vulnerable to medical issues like sepsis, bacterial pneumonia, meningitis, cardiovascular disease and even diabetes.
When a Tooth Infection Spreads
If a tooth infection spreads to other areas of the body, you may notice these symptoms:
- Feeling poorly
- Higher temperature
- Problems opening your mouth
- Problems swallowing
- Painful swelling of the gums, cheek or face
- Darker urine and less frequent urination
- Do not wait until your dental abscess ruptures to seek treatment. Seek prompt treatment to prevent the spread of the infection. Symptoms indicating a dental infection requiring urgent treatment include:
- Visible pimple under the gums (collection of pus)
- Swelling and inflammation near the affected tooth
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Fever and flu-like symptoms
- Sensitive teeth
- A severe, throbbing toothache that doesn’t resolve
- Swollen and painful lymph nodes in the neck
- Pain when chewing or biting down
Prompt treatment can give you the pain relief you need by removing the root cause of the problem and keeping it from worsening. While a toothache may not initially leave you vulnerable to serious, life-threatening health problems, letting it go long enough can. Our endodontic team is here to help you regain your oral health when you have been suffering from an infection.
Abscess: We can drain the abscess in the gums to get rid of bacteria, pus and fluid (never try popping or squeezing an abscess yourself, as you can spread the infection even deeper into your oral tissues). Antibiotics may be prescribed (sometimes beforehand, but often during and after the incision and drainage procedure). In extreme cases, a badly damaged tooth may require extraction.
Root canal therapy: If you have a root infection in a tooth root and pulp, a root canal removes the infected dental pulp inside a tooth. The tooth is cleaned, shaped and sealed, and eventually, a dental crown can be placed to fully restore the tooth. While people often think root canal therapy is painful, we have sedation options that will not only remove the source of your pain but also keep you feeling as comfortable as possible.
Apicoectomy: If a toothache lingers after a root canal, an apicoectomy can be done to take out the tip of the tooth’s root. This surgical incision removes all infected tissue and then seals the tooth from the root end.
This November, resolve to take good care of your smile and never ignore a toothache, as your smile and body depend on it. A healthy smile is truly something to be thankful for and there are solutions for your toothache that can have you feeling better in no time!