What Happens if You Ignore a Tooth Infection?

 What Happens if You Ignore a Tooth Infection?

A tooth infection is a painful, frustrating oral health problem. It may be tempting to press an ice pack to your cheek or soothe your symptoms with over-the-counter pain relievers, but if you don’t get the help you really need, the complications could be serious. 

Our team of experienced dentists at Rifkin Dental wants you to be fully informed about the risk of leaving an infected tooth untreated. Here’s exactly what you can expect from a tooth infection. 

How do I know my tooth is infected?

Infection is almost always painful. But tooth pain isn’t unique to infections, so it’s important to recognize the other warning signs of an infection. Symptoms of an infected tooth often include:

You may also notice that your breath suddenly smells bad, or you develop a foul taste in your mouth. 

How did my tooth become infected?

Poor dental hygiene is one of the leading causes of tooth infections, but even if you have a solid routine, you could still be at risk. If you’re unaware of a chip or crack in your tooth, bacteria can easily find their way into your tooth and spread all the way down to the root. 

A high-sugar diet and chronic dry mouth also leave your teeth vulnerable to decay and cavities that open the door to infection.

What happens if I don’t treat an infected tooth?

Wherever your infection came from, we want you to know that it’s nothing to mess around with. You should make an appointment with one of our dentists at the first sign of infection. Even if your abscess ruptures and your pain subsides, you haven’t gotten rid of the infection. No tooth infection goes away on its own. 

The main concern with untreated tooth infections is that they will spread to other areas of your body and result in compilations like the following:

In the worst case, you could develop sepsis — a serious medical condition in which your immune system severely overreacts to an infection in the blood. 

You know that your tooth infection has spread to another area of your body if you experience any of the following:

All of these are signs that your tooth infection has been left to its own devices and allowed to spread. Skip the dentist and head straight to the emergency room if you have a high fever and it’s accompanied by symptoms like trouble breathing, seizures, chest pain, unexplained rashes, or persistent vomiting.

How does a dentist treat an infected tooth?

When you see us for a painful, infected tooth, our main goal is to eradicate the infection as quickly as possible. Depending on your situation, we may do so by draining the abscess, performing a root canal, and/or prescribing antibiotics.  

In the most severe cases, extracting the tooth may be the best way to completely rid your mouth of infection. 

How can I avoid infection in the future?

When it comes to avoiding infections, the first step is to avoid tooth decay. If you want to keep decay at bay, you should follow these simple oral hygiene strategies:

It’s also important that you see us for regular checkups and cleanings. Only our experienced dentists can completely clean your teeth and spot an infection before it begins. 

Worried you have an infected tooth? Don’t wait another moment. Call or text our friendly staff or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment at either our Carmel or Yorktown Heights, New York, offices.

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