What is a Dental Infection?
Also known as tooth abscess, it is a pocket of fluid (pus) caused by bacteria present inside a tooth. The pus forms as the body tries to fight back an infection. The infected area seems completely normal, but usually it becomes painful when the pus inside the body cause an increase in pressure. Often, the area will be soft, swollen and tender, and will appear like a pimple surrounding the gum.
When this happens, the tooth decay is deep, affecting the pulp, blood vessels and nerves. The gum and its surrounding tissue will eventually be infected, and the infection may spread from the roots all they way to the bones.
In children, tooth decay is the primary cause of tooth abscess. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease. Cavities are very common that by the age of 5, nearly 60 percent of children in the US will have cavities at some point. However, the real problem is when the cavities and decay are left untreated, which leads to infection.
Signs and Symptoms of Dental Infection
As a parent, you must check your child’s mouth regularly. You have to be sure that your child is flossing and brushing his teeth. If you do this regularly, you’ll have to higher chance of catching any dental problem before they become worse. In addition, watch your child for the following signs and symptoms of tooth abscess or infection.
- Severe toothache, with throbbing, throbbing, shooting or sharp pain. Take note that if the root inside the pulp dies, the pain may lessen or even stop, however, the infection is still present and continues to destroy tissues and spread.
- Affected tooth is darker in color
- Pain or sensitivity when chewing or biting
- Swollen gums and/or swollen jaw or neck
- Bad breath
- Loss of appetite and weight
How Your Dentist Treat a Dental Infection
During an appointment, your dentist will examine your child’s teeth using a dental instrument. She may also ask for an X-ray to check for erosion of the bone on the infection site. If your child has a tooth abscess, the dentist will drain the pus and prescribe antibiotics. Sometimes, she may have to pull the infected tooth. This will not be a problem for young children as it will be replaced by a permanent tooth. But for those with permanent tooth, a root canal may be needed to clean and get rid of the infection, or the dentist will have to extract the tooth.