Tooth Infection

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Tooth Infection

An infection in your tooth is every bit as serious as an infection anywhere in your body. Untreated, a tooth infection can lead to serious consequences, not the least of which is losing the tooth. When you visit your Stanford dentists for routine oral care, you reduce the chances of developing an infection by allowing your dentist to catch problems early. But when you do suffer from the pain and irritation that comes with a tooth infection, the team at Stamford Dentals Arts has solutions, including emergency dental care when you can’t wait. Call for a routine appointment or if you need to be seen quickly.

Despite their small size, your teeth can cause excruciating pain. Tooth infections usually begin as a form of pulpitis, which refers to an inflamed dental pulp. If left untreated, pulpitis can develop a pocket of pus called an abscess. Eventually, the abscess can spread into your jawbone, to the rest of your mouth and even throughout your body.

At the beginning of the 20th century, studies estimated that 10 to 40 percent of tooth infections were fatal. While modern dentistry has virtually eliminated this possibility, a tooth infection is still a severe medical condition. Under no circumstance should you ignore or postpone treatment for an infected tooth. If you think a tooth may be infected and you live near Stamford, CT, visit Stamford Dental Arts. This inclusive practice has an expert team ready to treat your infected tooth.

Symptoms and Causes of an Infected Tooth

Your tooth pulp is the soft tissue center of your tooth, under the enamel and dentin. It contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. An abscessed infection of the tooth pulp is known as a periapical tooth abscess. Your teeth are full of nerves, and when a tooth becomes infected, symptoms may include:

  • Inflammation of your gums
  • Tooth sensitivity and soreness
  • Sharp or aching pain
  • Fever
  • Jaw pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Even trouble breathing

A cracked tooth, periodontal disease or tooth decay can leave your mouth vulnerable to a tooth infection. All three of these problems allow bacteria to enter the tooth pulp.

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Risk Factors for Tooth Infection

Infected teeth are generally a result of ordinary tooth decay. A number of factors increase your odds of developing a tooth infection, an eventual abscess and even the need for emergency dental care. These factors include:

  • Dry mouth. Saliva helps wash away the excess food in your mouth, which reduces plaque. Plaque builds up on teeth, contributing to decay. Dry mouth becomes more common as you age, but also results from certain medications. Experts estimate that dry mouth causes 30 percent of tooth decay in older adults.
  • Sugar. Frequent consumption of sugary drinks and snacks leads to tooth decay. A high sugar diet increases your risk of an eventual tooth infection.
  • Infrequent or no dentist visits. Early detection is one of the best preventive steps you can take to prevent infections in your teeth. Maintain a bi-annual schedule for regular teeth cleaning and checkups to prevent infection or catch it early.
  • Lack of sufficient dental care at home. Regular brushing and flossing are necessary to preserve the health of your teeth and gums. Poor dental hygiene enables decay, which leads to infected teeth.

Once you’ve controlled the infection with antibiotics, your Stamford dentist drains the pus from your abscess, if required. Only then can the underlying cause of the infection be addressed. Your family dentist also takes appropriate steps to prevent further infections, but a lot of the responsibility rests with you. Be diligent with your at-home dental hygiene habits and continue to visit your dentist every six months.

Wisdom Tooth Infection

A wisdom tooth infection, also known as pericoronitis, is a serious matter that requires immediate, expert treatment from a trained dental professional. Your wisdom teeth are your third set of molars. They usually grow in when you’re between the ages of 17 and 25.

Unfortunately, these large molars often don’t fit properly in your mouth. They may grow in sideways or only partially appear above the gum line. When this happens, food particles can get trapped underneath the gum, where bacteria can grow rapidly. You eventually wind up with a wisdom tooth infection that usually contributes to the need for extraction of the wisdom tooth.

Root Canal Infection

If your tooth infection has penetrated your tooth’s enamel and dentin, it eventually reaches your dental pulp. Once the pulp is infected, your dentist must remove the bacteria to prevent the infection from spreading. If discovered in time, your dentist can perform a root canal procedure, during which he removes the infected pulp from inside of your tooth. This procedure saves the tooth structure.

If the procedure, which is more and more common, isn’t done properly, bacteria remain in the pulp and continue to cause an infection. That means the root canal procedure has to be repeated, and you may need a round of antibiotics. To avoid this from happening, rely on the top-rated dentists in Stamford at Stamford Dental Arts. If you’re currently suffering from any tooth pain or sensitivity, contact us today to schedule an evaluation.

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call S.D.A 203.504.8745
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Dr. Modiri took his time with me unlike other dentists to discuss my issues. He was very thorough and presented me with multiple pain management options. Very refreshing.

Johana Adams
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