How Can Teeth Become Infected?

How Can Teeth Become Infected?

Tooth infections can unsurprisingly cause upsetting pain and make it difficult for you to focus on anything else. Though small, your teeth are full of nerves, which is why any tooth infection can cause a severe toothache.


If you are experiencing devastating pain in your tooth and have seen some swelling on your gum or jaw, you could be having a tooth infection. Moreover, the discomfort in your teeth can be connected to a more serious dental health problem.


What Is Tooth Infection?


A tooth infection, also called tooth abscess, is a buildup of bacteria and pus that forms inside your gum or tooth. If a tooth infection goes untreated, it can spread to other parts of your body and cause serious and potentially fatal health issues.


How Can Teeth Get Infected?


Teeth can get infected due to several reasons, including:


  • Tooth injury – Tooth injury can damage your inner pulp, even if the injury does not leave a noticeable crack. The injury exposes your pulp to infection

  • Gum disease – Gum disease causes swelling in the tissues surrounding your teeth. As the disease worsens, the bacteria spreads and infects deeper tissues in the pulp

  • Cracked, chipped, or broken tooth – Bacteria can penetrate any hole or crack in a tooth and gain access to the pulp

  • Smoking – Smokers are about two times more likely to develop teeth infections compared to non-smokers

  • Poor oral hygiene – Keeping your teeth clean by brushing, flossing, and receiving professional teeth cleanings minimize bacteria

  • Dry mouth – Bacteria are likely to develop when your mouth is dry or produces very little saliva

  • High-sugar diets – Regularly eating or drinking sugary foods such as sodas and candies can cause teeth cavities that may develop into teeth infections

  • Root canal procedure – During root canal treatment, the dentist takes away a nerve from the injured tooth, leaving room for bacteria to grow

  • Weak immune system – Medications or illnesses can weaken your immune system, making it more difficult to drive away germs


How Can You Tell If You Have a Tooth Infection?


If you have a tooth infection, you may experience the following symptoms.


  • Severe, constant, gnawing toothache that can spread to your jawbone, ear, and neck

  • Tooth becomes sensitive to cold or hot temperatures

  • Pain when biting or chewing

  • Gum redness and pus-filled swelling

  • An open pimple that drains pus on your gum’s side

  • Fever

  • Foul breath or taste in your mouth

  • Trouble opening or moving your mouth as a result of the swelling and discomfort

  • Tender swelling in your jaw or neck glands

  • Feeling generally sick

  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing


When to See Your Dentist


If you are experiencing any sign or symptom of teeth infection, see your dentist right away.


These signs may show that the infection is spreading to your jaw, nearby tissue, or other parts of your body. Even if your tooth infection has resulted from a former root canal treatment, your dentist can treat it again and eliminate the infection.


To learn more about how teeth can become infected or to schedule an appointment, call Progressive Dental & Associates in Matteson, Illinois at 708-980-0110 today.