A tooth infection is no fun at all, and without proper treatment, it can spread to other parts of your body. This can lead to serious complications, and may be life threatening. Your mouth is full of bacteria from food that you eat, and from saliva and plaque. This bacteria can enter into your tooth and result in a tooth abscess. The tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that forms inside your tooth or gums. The good news is that tooth infections or “tooth abscess” are easily treatable. Just as long as you do not delay treatment. Read further as we discuss signs that a tooth infection is spreading, and the complications that may arise if you do not get prompt dental attention.
Signs and Symptoms that A Tooth Infection is Spreading
While it is rare for a tooth infection or “tooth abscess” to spread to other parts of your body, it can happen. And, if it does happen, the consequences can be quite severe. If you suspect that a tooth infection could be spreading, you do not want to put off seeing your dentist, call for treatment as soon as possible. Here are some signs and symptoms to watch out for, that may indicate the tooth infection has spread…
-swelling to the face, neck or cheeks
-pain in your mouth and tongue
-nausea and vomiting
-itching sensation on your skin
-double vision, or loss of vision
-rapid pulse rates and lightheadedness
-your breathing rate increases to over 25 breaths per minute
If a tooth infection is left untreated, it can spread to your face and/or neck. Severe infections can move to even more distant parts of your body. In rare cases, the infection may become systemic, which can affect multiple tissues throughout the body. You could also be at risk for osteomyelitis, which is an infection of the bone surrounding the teeth. You could be at risk for cellulitis which is an infection of the skin and fat located directly beneath the skin. Cavernous sinus thrombosis is another infection that may arise in an untreated tooth infection. This is an infection of the blood vessels with your sinuses. You could experience a parapharyngeal abscess, which is an abscess located at the back of the mouth. Finally, sepsis could happen, which is a serious medical condition where the immune system overreacts to the infection in the blood. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please see your dentist immediately.
Treatment For A Tooth Infection
There are many ways for your dentist to treat a tooth infection. The type of treatment depends on several factors, like to what extent the infection has spread, and the initial location of the abscess. Read further as we explain the possible different treatment for a tooth infection.
Root Canal Treatment: It may be necessary to receive a root canal treatment. This can help treat abscesses deep inside the tooth. The procedure requires the dentist to drill into the tooth and remove the pocket of pus and bacteria at the root of the tooth. Once finished, the dentist will fill the space with a material called gutta-percha. After the tooth is healed, the dentist can restore the tooth with a crown, or a filling to prevent an infection from happening again.
When a root canal is not enough to take care of the tooth infection, you may need to have an apicoectomy, or a root end resection. This is a procedure that involves opening the gums up to remove the end of the tooth root along with any other infected tissue.
You may be prescribed antibiotics to reduce the tooth infection, and to stop the infection from spreading further. If it has been determined that the infection has already spread, you may have to take an extended course of antibiotics. If the infection has spread so much that it is now severe, you may have to stay in a hospital to receive your antibiotics through an intravenous drip.
The Tooth Infection is Drained
It may be necessary in some cases to drain the pus directly from the site of infection. Drainage to remove the pus from an abscess at the back of the mouth may happen at your dentist office.
Even though most tooth infections can be easily treated, treatment should never be delayed. Delays in proper treatment can cause the tooth infection to spread to other parts of the body. If a tooth infection spreads, it could become life threatening. Therefore, if you suspect that you have a tooth infection, seek immediate dental treatment. The most effective way to prevent a tooth infection is to have good oral hygiene. Limit your sugar intake, brush your teeth and floss twice daily, and visit your dentist for regular cleanings and exams.