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Do You Have a Tooth Infection?

It can be tricky to know why a tooth is bothering you. Is it a cavity? Was it caused by trauma to your mouth or jaw? Or is it a tooth infection?

In today’s blog post, we’re going to take a closer look at symptoms and treatment options for a tooth infection.

Also known as an abscessed tooth, a tooth infection is painful and potentially serious if not properly treated. Common symptoms include:

  • Toothache: One of the most noticeable symptoms of a tooth infection is a throbbing, painful toothache. The pain can be intermittent or constant but is especially intense when you bite down or clench the infected tooth.
  • Pus: Pus around the impacted tooth is also a sign of infection. It may lead to a bad taste in or odor from your mouth. Additionally, you may notice a dental abscess, or small bump on your gum. 
  • Bad breath: A tooth infection can also cause an unpleasant taste in your mouth or constant bad breath.
  • Swelling and/or redness: You often experience swelling in the affected area of your mouth. The gums around the tooth may be red or tender as well.
  • Fever: Like other infections, a tooth infection can cause a fever, fatigue, and/or general discomfort. Typically, these symptoms occur when the infection spreads beyond the tooth, making it particularly important to seek treatment right away.

Although a tooth infection and cavity have similar symptoms, they differ in the severity of the problem and the amount of damage they cause.

A cavity, also called tooth decay, occurs when bacteria and acids erode the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) and leave a small hole. It’s a localized issue that can be treated with a filling to prevent future decay.

A tooth infection, then, occurs when the bacteria reaches the pulp of the tooth. The pulp contains blood vessels and nerves, which can lead to inflammation, pain, and possible complications. In general, a cavity is a milder form of tooth decay, while a tooth infection is a more serious issue.

Treatment options for a tooth infection include:

  • Pain management: Regardless of your treatment plan, your dentist may recommend over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers. 
  • Antibiotics: For mild cases, patients are often prescribed antibiotics. Even so, further treatment is typically required to get rid of the infection.
  • Root canal: If the infection reaches the tooth’s pulp, a root canal is usually required. During this procedure, the infected pulp is removed. Afterwards, the tooth is cleaned, disinfected, and sealed to prevent further problems.
  • Abscess drainage: If an abscess forms, your dentist may need to drain it. This quick procedure helps to relieve pain and remove the infection.
  • Extraction: For severe cases, the tooth may be so damaged that it can’t be saved. Your dentist may recommend pulling the infected tooth. After the extraction, you can discuss replacement options, including dental implants or bridges.

Of course, prevention is always better than treatment!

Be sure to practice good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day, floss once a day, and visit your dentist biannually. You can also consider sealants or fluoride treatments to strengthen and protect your teeth. 

We hope you’ll choose Maitland Ave Smile Co. when it comes to your dental care!


Call us at 407.834.0330 to schedule your appointment today! Check out our Dental Blog to learn more about topics like restorative dentistry, dental anxiety, and more.