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Dentistry for Kids
Dentistry for Babies
Preventive Care
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Tooth Infections

Tooth infections occur when bacteria accesses the tooth's pulp or tooth's root and begins to erode the area. The body will often fight back by sealing off the area and fill it with puss and blood. When bacteria is able to penetrate deeply within the tooth, the body will naturally fight the foreign substances creating an infection. Sometimes, the body will create something called an "abscess" in an effort to push out the irritating substances. An abscess is an area where fluid and infection swells under the surface of the skin. This can also cause extreme discomfort and pain.

What Causes a Tooth Infection?

Cavities, broken or cracked teeth are usually the culprits of tooth infections as they provide a direct route for bacteria and/or foreign substances to make its way to the pulp.

Less likely, another possible source for a dental infection occurs when dead cells and tissues are blocked or trapped within the tooth. The body natural dissolves dead cells and cellular waste. However, the body's natural cleansing system can become blocked. Dead cells from inside the tooth or around the tooth may not be taken care of properly by the body, and an infection will develop.

Symptoms of a Tooth Infection

  • Toothache
  • Severe, continuous pain
  • Gnawing or throbbing pain
  • Sharp or shooting pain
  • Pain when chewing
  • Sensitivity of the teeth to hot or cold
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Breath odor or mouth odor
  • Possible fever
  • Swollen glands of the neck
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling
  • Swollen area of the upper or lower jaw (this is a very serious symptom, and you should consult with our pediatric dental specialists immediately)

What is an Abscess?

When a tooth infection occurs, the body will naturally fight back. The body begins by sealing off the area and filling the area with fluids to fight the infection. A lump filled with pus, bacteria and fluid will form under the tissue. Pus is a thin protein-rich fluid that your body uses to trap and contain foreign substances. The body then tries to remove the infected substance by pushing the infection toward the surface. In some cases this causes extreme pain and discomfort.

Most abscesses or infections can be easily treated if your child is in good health. A visit to the dentist is recommended for any case of infection in the mouth. Your child's natural ability to rid itself of infection may or may not work, and avoiding the dentist may cause severe oral and overall health issues. Do not avoid your pediatric dentist when an infection is present. Seek dental professional help immediately. Our pediatric dental specialists offer the best guidance and knowledge concerning tooth infections.

Treatment of Tooth Infections

The treatment of a tooth infection will vary depending on the age of the patient and severity of the case. Antibiotics, dental fillings, crowns, and other dental treatments may be used to restore the area. If your child is experiencing a tooth infection or any of the listed symptoms, please come in for a consultation as soon as possible to avoid any further damage or pain.