Untreated dental infections can quickly switch from a dental inconvenience into a dental nightmare, perhaps even one that threatens your life, or that of your family.
Many people think of oral health problems as nuisances – not a threat to general health. And in most cases this is true, but in some cases, such as untreated dental infections, the threat is very real.
At Alex Bratic Dental Care we want you to be aware of the threat of dental infections and know how to identify and treat them.
Dental infections pose a threat to life when they are allowed to develop, unchecked, and develop into dental anscesses. An abscess is an accumulation of pus, comprised of white blood cells, dead tissue and germs.
If the infection is allowed to spread, complications, some potentially fatal, can arise. The good news is that, using early detecting techniques and standard, save dental procedures, your Alex Bratic Dental Care dentist can help prevent abscesses and infections from causing detrimental health effects on you and your friends or family.
How do dental infections affect general health?
Any infection is a cause for worry. But an abscessed tooth is even more dangerous as it is a severe infection that is located in a part of your body that is unusually able to spread its damage elsewhere in the body. These are some of the potential consequences:
- Infected gums can damage the jawbone and cause teeth to fall out or need to be extracted.
- The infection can spread to the brain through blood vessels and lead to a brain abscess. In extreme cases, this can cause coma and death.
- The infection can spread upwards and lead to a sinus infection.
- Bacteria from the infection can spread to the heart leading to bacterial endocarditis.
- Abscessed teeth can cause an infection in the face and jaw called Ludwig’s angina, which can severely restrict the airways.
- Septicemia is an infection of the entire bloodstream. Septicemia from a dental abscess occurs when the abscess ruptures, enters the bloodstream, and circulates throughout the body. This is a very dangerous condition that often requires intravenous antibiotics and extended hospitalization. It can also be fatal.
Signs and symptoms of dental abscess
If you experience any of the following, particularly in conjunction with a severe toothache, call your Alex Bratic Dental Care dentist immediately:
- Intense throbbing pain. The pain usually starts suddenly and becomes more intense over subsequent hours or days. In some cases, the pain may radiate to the ear, jawbone or neck.
- Pain in the affected area when biting
- Pain when touching the affected area
- Sudden sensitivity to cold or hot food or liquids
- A foul taste in your mouth
- Feeling generally unwell
- Difficulty opening your mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
Eliminating dental infection
Abscesses do not go away by themselves. This is why, if you have any suspicion that you may have such an infection, it is critical that you visit your Alex Bratic Dental Care dentist immediately. Symptoms of infection are varied, including toothache, sensitive teeth, a bad taste in your mouth, difficulty opening your mouth, and fever.
To treat an abscess in the gums (periodontal), the following steps will be taken:
- The affected area is cleaned thoroughly
- The trapped pus is drained out
- The infection is treated
For an abscessed tooth (periapical):
- Drain the abscess through root canal treatment, followed by a filling or dental crown.
- If the affected tooth is severely damaged, tooth extraction is required.
Preventing an abscessed tooth
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this is very true in the case of dental abscesses/infection.
You can generally avoid abscessed teeth entirely if you brush and floss daily, and visit Alex Bratic Dental care regularly. It can also help to regularly use an antiseptic mouthwash.
You can also cut down on sugary and starchy food and drinks – particularly between meals or shortly before going to bed. The ultimate goal is to ward off tooth decay, which is the primary cause of abscessed teeth.
If the condition does appear, there are steps you can take to relieve the pain (noted above), but in order to remove the infection, it will always be necessary to visit us as soon as possible.
The longer the condition is left untreated, the more difficult, protracted, and painful the treatment becomes.
Comfort, Convenience, and Excellent Care at Alex Bratic
Alex Bratic Dental Care in Beenleigh delivers the very best in dental services to patients of all ages. If your child needs straighter teeth, if you have a dental condition, or if you or a family member needs a checkup, we’re here for you!
Alex Bratic Dental Care is located on City Road near the Pacific Motorway near Beenleigh Station, with convenient public transport nearby and free onsite parking.
Same day emergency appointment is available!
Call (07) 3287 2627 or visit us at 113 City Rd in Beenleigh.