Dental infections are not the type of thing you can just wait out. They can lead to a myriad of issues and can have serious consequences if they are left unchecked. Many people are unaware of what a dental infection is, which is why they underestimate the consequences of leaving them untreated.
A dental infection, sometimes known as an abscess, is essentially a pocket of pus in the mouth that has been created by a bacterial infection. These infections can develop in different parts of tooth and mouth and they can only be fixed by professional intervention.
Symptoms of a Dental Infection
The most common symptoms of an infection include toothache, swelling in the face and lymph nodes in the jaw and neck, sensitivity to hot and cold stimuli, fever and pain when you place pressure on the infected area.
Treatment Options for a Dental Infection
Only a dentist can treat a dental infection. The first step will be to drain all the pus out of the infected area. Patients often get immediate relief from pain once the pus has been drained.
The severity of the infection will dictate the next steps that are taken. The key in the treatment is to get rid of the cause of infection. If the infection is in the canal of the tooth, the most common recourse is to perform a root canal treatment.If the infection originates from your gum, then a thorough scale and clean may be able to alleviate the issue.
If the infection too substantial around your tooth or gum for it to be salvageable, it may be necessary to perform a tooth extraction, followed by a cosmetic procedure such as a dental implant or a bridge.
The latter treatment is obviously a lot more costly and invasive than a root canal treatment. If you visit the dentist before the infection spreads, the procedure may be a lot more straight-forward.
Possible Effects of an Untreated Dental Infection
The possible effects of an untreated dental infection can be life threatening. The infection can move from your teeth and your mouth into your neck, brain or jaw and if you develop sepsis the infection could spread throughout your entire body.
Possible conditions stemming from sepsis include; septicaemia, which infects the blood, brain abscesses that require surgical drainage and intracranial pressure relief, Ludwig’s Angina, which can cause suffocation and even meningitis which will require a lengthy stay in hospital.
Patients that have a weakened immune system are at a heightened risk of having the bacterial infection spread throughout their body and because the mouth is so close to the brain the first, and potentially most deadly, point of infection can be the brain.
That’s why leaving dental infections untreated is so serious, at a minimum you could lose a tooth and at the other end of the scale the implications are deadly.
Preventing Dental Infections
Good oral hygiene is the best defence against dental infections and good oral hygiene is all about creating an effective oral hygiene routine and sticking to it. An effective oral hygiene routine means brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and limiting sugary and acidic foods and beverages.
The point about your diet and beverage intake is very important because sugar and acid both contribute to tooth breakdown and cavities. Cavities become breeding grounds for bacteria and infections.
You also need to change your toothbrush every three months or so or whenever it appears worn out. You should also dispose of any toothbrushes you have used while you’re sick as the bacteria can stick to the bristles and infect your mouth and teeth.
Anyone playing a contact sport needs to wear a mouthguard as dental infections are often associated with dental trauma and injury.
A crucial part of your dental hygiene routine includes visits to the dentist. You should aim to visit the dentist once every six months to get a professional clean. This will help to prevent infections and it will also give your dentist the chance to pick up on any minor infections before they spread.
It also allows dentists to make minor interventions into your oral health that will help to prevent infections, such as filling cavities, treating gingivitis and removing the plaque and tartar that attracts and allows bacteria to stick on the tooth. Remember, most private health companies offer two free visits to the dentist as part of their coverage so make the most of your premium by getting along to the dentist and stopping infection in its tracks.
If you’re noticing symptoms of infection or you’d like to get a professional clean done to prevent infections in the future contact dhealth today.