A tooth infection or tooth abscess is usually the result of untreated decay or a cracked tooth. This enables the bacteria to penetrate the enamel and infect the nerves located in the pulp of the tooth leading to an abscess. An abscessed tooth is a collection of pus that causes troubling symptoms. There are several types of tooth infection or abscess such as periapical abscess, periodontal abscess, gingival abscess, pericoronal abscess, and combined periodontic endodontic abscess. Management of a tooth infection is important as if left untreated, can lead to sepsis and airway compromise.
The risks of complications are higher in those with suppressed or weakened immune systems. The diagnosis of a tooth infection can be made based on the patient’s history, examination, and supported by a dental radiograph. The goal of treatment is to kill the offending pathogen using antibiotics and pus drainage. If the tooth can be restored, a root canal therapy can be performed. However, extraction and curettage should be done for a non-restorable tooth.
Tooth Infection Symptom #1: Swelling
Swelling or edema is one of the hallmarks of inflammation. It can be defined as an enlargement of the affected area due to the accumulation of fluid in the affected area and its adjacent tissues. Systemic swelling involves the whole body while localized swelling is confined to one area.
Swelling usually occurs when there is inflammation or infection. In a tooth infection, the involvement of the gums may result in the swelling of the surrounding tissues and can even be seen on the jaw. Patients who experience swelling should seek dental care to prevent it from becoming a chronic infection.