Is My Tooth Infected?

June 24, 2019 Kalamazoo Smiles

Kalamazoo, MI Root Canal DentistIf you’re experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity, you might have an infected, or abscessed, tooth. If you do, you’ll want to stop in and visit Dr. Bandos, our dentist in Kalamazoo, MI.

Please contact our office today if you have concerns about an infected tooth or a possible emergency root canal procedure.

In the meantime, here are the main signs you have an abscessed tooth and what you can do about it.

What is a Tooth Infection?

A tooth infection (also called an abscess) is a pocket of pus trapped within your tooth. If left untreated, the infection will spread to the tips of your tooth roots. At this point, your only option would be an emergency root canal or extraction.

You may be at higher risk for an abscessed tooth if you neglect oral hygiene. Once a cavity is deep enough to penetrate the inner chamber of your tooth, you’ll develop an abscess. This means that the live tissue (pulp) inside your tooth is infected.

What Does a Tooth Abscess Look and Feel Like?

A tooth abscess is painful. In fact, your teeth may be throbbing and keeping you awake. We always recommend our patients come to us before they’re in unbearable pain. That way, we’re able to catch issues when they’re small and at their most treatable.

Signs you have an infected tooth include:

  • Severe toothache
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain when biting down
  • Fever
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes in the neck or jaw
  • Swollen face or cheeks

Recognize any of the above symptoms? If so, schedule an appointment with our dentist. The longer you ignore an abscessed tooth, the more you jeopardize your health. Call our dental practice today to request emergency dental care.

Don’t think that the abscess is gone if the pain subsides. While you can manage some of the pain from home, our dentist will need to remove the infected dental pulp. She’ll then have to reseal the tooth and cover it with a crown. If our dentist can’t salvage the tooth, she’ll extract it before the infection spreads to your jaw.

Can a Tooth Infection Go Away on Its Own?

No, a tooth infection will not go away on its own. Instead, it’ll only get worse until the abscess bursts. When this happens, the infection will spread to your jawbone, as well as the rest of your head and neck. You may even develop sepsis, which is life threatening.

Do NOT ignore the symptoms of a tooth infection! If you suspect you have an abscessed tooth, you’ll need to call our office as soon as possible. The sooner you call, the more likely we’ll be able to save your tooth. For example, Dr. Bandos may be able to treat a small abscess with a root canal. Otherwise, you’ll need emergency tooth extraction.

What If My Tooth is Infected?

First, you’ll need to schedule an appointment for urgent dental care. We’re always willing to squeeze you in if you’re having a dental emergency. Dr. Bandos can advise you on how to manage your pain while you wait for your appointment.

We don’t recommend going to the hospital for a tooth emergency. The most an ER doctor will be able to do for you is give you antibiotics and pain relievers, but this doesn’t solve the source of the problem. Only a dentist will be able to diagnose and treat the source of your pain.

Schedule an Appointment with Kalamazoo Smiles

Dr. Katherine Bandos is an experienced dentist in Kalamazoo, Michigan, who offers emergency dental care. To schedule an emergency appointment, please call Kalamazoo Smiles at (269) 353-3700. For non-emergencies, you may fill out our online contact form and someone from our team will reach out to you soon.

This blog post has been updated.

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