What are the tooth infection symptoms and what is a tooth abscess?
Symptoms of tooth infection can vary. Cavities, which are holes in teeth filled with bacteria, are a type of mild infection.
Generally, symptoms of cavities can range from no symptoms to painful cold or hot sensitivity. If left untreated, these cavities grow bigger and bigger and eventually hit the nerve of the tooth. When the nerve of the tooth is infected, you will experience spontaneous, throbbing, and shooting pain in the absence of stimuli. For example, throbbing pain that wakes you up at night is usually a sign of an infected nerve.
Treatment of an infected nerve involves root canal therapy to take out the infected nerve, followed by a crown to strengthen the weakened tooth. If prompt treatment does not occur, over time, the nerve will die. At this point, your tooth will not throb anymore because the nerve is dead, but over time, the dead nerve and associated bacteria will travel down the root canal and cause infection at the base of the root.
Usually when this happens, symptoms involve feelings of pressure around the tooth and pain upon chewing. When infection at the base of the root is untreated, over time, an abscess forms on the gums.
An abscess is a localized collection of pus and it appears like a large pimple on the gums. This is the beginning of the spread of infection because the infection is no longer just contained within the tooth; it has not spread to the gums.
Treatment of an abscessed tooth also requires root canal therapy and crown in order to remove the source of infection, which is all the dead nerve and bacteria within the root canal itself.
If left untreated, the infection can spread from the gums to other parts of the face, leading to painful facial swelling. In severe cases, the airway space can even close, causing suffocation and an immediate need for hospitalization.