The main concern for a tooth infection that’s been left untreated is the risk of spread to other areas of the body. When a tooth infection has spread to the face and neck, or worse, into the body’s tissues and system, it becomes a serious issue that requires emergency dental surgery.
If you suspect that you have a tooth infection, it’s important to watch out for the following signs that indicate the infection is spreading.
How do you know if a tooth infection has spread?
In most cases, tooth infections are easily treatable and, while it’s rare for a tooth infection to spread to other parts of the body, it can happen. A person who experiences any of the following with a tooth infection needs to seek the help of an emergency dental clinic immediately:
- Swelling of the face and neck
- Painful tongue and mouth
- Severe headache
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain in the jawbone, ear, or neck
- Throbbing tooth pain
- Double vision or loss of vision
- Difficulty breathing
How does a tooth become infected?
The mouth is full of bacteria from plaque, food, and saliva that can sometimes enter into the tooth or below the gumline. This results in a tooth infection, also known as a “tooth abscess”, which is a collection of pus and bacteria that forms inside the tooth or gum.
The risk for developing a tooth infection increases with:
- Poor oral hygiene
- A high sugar diet
- Dry mouth
Steps you can take to prevent tooth infections
To reduce the risk of serious complications and to avoid emergency dental surgery, always seek treatment for a tooth infection as soon as possible. You can also minimize your chances of getting a tooth infection by following these recommended guidelines:
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day
- Floss your teeth at least once a day
- Decrease your intake of sugary foods
- Switch to a diet high in vegetables and fruits
- Avoid tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes
- Drink plenty of water daily
- Maintain regular check-ups and cleanings with your dentist