Why you have a tooth infection, and how you can immediately take steps to start healing it.Trauma is the main cause of tooth infections.
Why you have a tooth infection, and how you can immediately take steps to start healing it.Tooth infections, also referred to as tooth abscesses, are collections of pus and/or bacteria that build up within the dental pulp of a tooth or teeth. There are several levels of infection ranging from mild to severe, but almost always, intense, throbbing pain is present.
Tooth infections generally involve the nerves at the center of the tooth that feed out through the end of the root. When the root dies, the infection has an opportunity to spread to the surrounding tissues, gums, bones and teeth.A tooth infection is also known as a tooth or root abscess. It is a pus-filled swelling. The infection is usually a result of tooth decay. The damage to your tooth is not caused by bacteria, but usually by certain dietary habits that are common in our modern industrial society.
Trauma is the main cause of tooth infections. The trauma can be attributed to things such as cavities, broken or chipped teeth or losing a tooth. Either way, the second the tooth is damaged, microorganisms are readily waiting to enter and attack the area. These microorganisms battle the nerves inside your tooth. If the nerves die, infections will certainly begin. If the infection goes untreated, it can become a tooth abscess, cause illness such as sweating, fever and vomiting, and can even shut off the airway passage.
Tooth Infection Causes
What causes tooth infections? The answer is quite simple: trauma. Trauma can occur a number of ways including cavities, chipped, cracked, or broken teeth, injured teeth, and other invading infectious diseases such as gum disease and gingivitis. The problem with our teeth is that white blood cells and antibodies do not have any room inside them. When trauma occurs to the tooth, teeth have a very hard time recovering on their own. Not even medicine, such as antibiotics, are able to reach inside the tooth. This allows enamel to break down quicker, which makes the tooth more susceptible to infections.
When you eat food, and your tooth enamel is weak or breached due to tooth decay, then the food can penetrate deeply into the inner layers of the tooth. The food or other particles deep inside the tooth become an irritant. The body then creates a tooth infection to push out or collect the irritating substances. Another possible source of tooth infection is dead cells and tissues that are not cleaned away by the body. Every day our body gets rid of dead cells and cellular waste. If the body’s cleansing system is blocked, then it may be inhibited in its ability to remove toxins from inside the tooth or around the tooth. Imagine, for example, a stream that is dammed up; the water would stop flowing and it would stagnate. Likewise a tooth infection can be like a dam in the flow of blood vessels in or around the tooth.
Tooth Infection Symptoms
The symptoms of tooth infections are very similar to those of tooth abscess, including: Toothache, ranging from mild to severe, and infrequent to often, Pain when chewing, Sensitivity to hot and cold, Foul taste in ones mouth, Swollen lymph nodes (neck glands located under the jaw),Feeling of nausea, Vomiting, Fever,Bad breath or halitosis, Redness of the gums, Inflammation of the gums, Open, draining sore on gums.
The toothache may eventually go away because the root has finally died. However, that does not mean the infection has died. In fact, the infection is likely thriving and active as it continues to spread and destroy uninfected tissue. Many times people find themselves thinking the problem goes away with the pain, but the opposite is true almost always, especially with tooth infections.
Tooth Infection Treatment
Your dentist will want to do everything possible to save your tooth. Treatment includes eliminating the infection and preventing further complications. If the tooth is an abscess it will need to be drained. Learn more about this treatment in the Abscessed Tooth article. Another way to treat the tooth is to extract it. Tooth extraction gets rid of the entire infection, and if needed, drainage can occur through the empty socket. If the infection is in the gums, a small incision can be made to let the infection drain. To replace an extracted tooth, your dentist may recommend a dental implant. Dental implants replace missing or damaged teeth. They are made of artificial materials, and unlike dental bridges, they do not need the support of other teeth to be functional. Antibiotics can be prescribed to help fight the infection, and to relieve pain dentists recommend warm salt-water rinses and over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen.
Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water (1/2 tsp of salt to 1 cup water) and repeating each hour or as often as you need relief is one way to treat yourself at home. After treatment, you should not chew on the affected side of your mouth for a minimum of 2 days. Always follow your dentist’s instructions after receiving treatment for a tooth infection. Liquid or soft diets are typically required for 1 to 2 days, or until the pain subsides. With treatment and proper follow-up care, the outlook is good.