lady with tooth infection

Is a Tooth Infection Visible?

Signs of a Tooth Abscess

A tooth infection, also known as a “tooth abscess,” is a collection of pus and bacteria that can form inside your tooth or gum. This infection of the tooth socket often begins with a crack or cavity in the tooth. According to the World Health Organization, tooth decay levels are higher in the U.S. due to the level of sugars and fermentable carbohydrates that Americans consume. You will not always be able to see a tooth infection with the naked eye because you cannot see inside the tooth’s pulp. However, most patients with tooth infections report throbbing pain in the jawbone, ear, and neck that worsens when laying down. There are other signs that point to a tooth infection, including:

  • Pain when eating

Tooth pain happens when the nerve in the root of a tooth is irritated. There are different types of tooth infections: periapical abscesses and periodontal abscesses. Periapical abscesses occur at the tip of the root and periodontal abscesses occur in the gums at the side of a tooth root. Both of these abscesses can lead to severe toothaches.

  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures when eating or drinking

When the nerves are exposed in the tooth, sensitivity to temperatures increases. It is important to be aware of changing levels of sensitivity because this can be a sign of worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots.

  • Tooth that appears darker than other teeth

When the nerve within a tooth loses its blood supply, it can create a “dead nerve,” which is what dentists call a “necrotic pulp.” A necrotic pulp is a condition in which the pulp inside your teeth die. It is usually the last stage of chronic pulpitis, which is a condition caused by bacteria that invade the tooth’s pulp and cause it to swell.

  • Swelling of the face, jaw, and lymph nodes

If your face, jaw, or lymph nodes are swelling, it is likely that a pocket of pus has formed at the tip of the tooth root in the jawbone. If it is left untreated, a more serious infection can spread to the face, which will result in the swollen appearance.

  • Swollen, pus-filled gums

One of the reasons that an abscess can occur is because of serious gum disease, which can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth. When this happens, deep pockets can grow, allowing tartar to build up. When tartar builds up excessively, or other items like food become trapped in the pockets, pus can grow and form an abscess.

  • Redness of the gums

One of the most evident signs of an abscessed tooth is red, swollen gums that lead to throbbing pain. The redness might be accompanied by tooth damage, so it is important to get it checked out by your dental professional as soon as possible.

  • Bad breath

A dental abscess can lead to pain in the mouth as well as bad breath. Bad breath can be a sign of a dental abscess because of the bacteria and dying pulp tissue. It is normal to have the occasional bout of bad breath every once in a while, but if the problem is persistent, it can be a sign of infections or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses, and throat.

  • Unpleasant taste in mouth

A persistent unpleasant taste in the mouth can be a sign of a dental abscess as well as gingivitis. With a dental abscess, the unpleasant taste often happens when the pus drains from the mouth, leaving behind a foul odor and a bad taste.

  • Difficulty opening mouth

If you are having difficulty opening your mouth, this can be a sign that a more severe tooth infection has developed. It usually means that the infection has spread to deeper tissues, which can negatively impact the working systems in your body. There is no need to live with oral pain or to have difficulty opening your mouth. High-level periodontic care can effectively treat this issue, and preventative care can save you from more pain in the future.

If you are suffering from a tooth infection, or need another dental service, Austell Dental Associates can provide the quality dental care you need. Give us a call at (770) 467-3888 or contact us online to learn about our treatments.


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