Teeth may be durable, but they can also be vulnerable. Recognizing common tooth infection symptoms allows you to be proactive about safeguarding your oral health. When you know what to watch for, you’re ready to sound the alarm and seek treatment as needed before the problem progresses. This winning strategy can limit the danger to your health and the potential for damage to your teeth and gums. Here are some common oral infections to watch out for.
Tooth Infection Types
Also called caries, dental cavities are holes in the teeth. They’re normally caused by tooth decay, which is often triggered by the bacteria Streptococcus mutans. Left untreated, cavities will eat away at teeth, causing discoloration, pain, and even tooth loss. Fortunately, dentists have numerous approaches to treat them, beginning with fillings and escalating to root canals, crowns, and more.
While the teeth may be the stars of any smile, the gums provide essential support for the tooth roots. Gingivitis is a mouth infection that targets the gum tissue. It’s the early stages of gum disease, so symptoms are mild. They include redness, inflammation, and minor bleeding. The best way to avoid gingivitis is by brushing and flossing. If you have the beginning stages of gingivitis, schedule a professional cleaning. Gingivitis treatment includes removing the tartar from the gumline. This also provides an excellent chance to confer with your dentist for a comprehensive examination and for his/her specific advice.
When gingivitis isn’t treated, it can advance into full-fledged periodontal disease. Here, the infection has now dipped below the gum line and reached the deeper gum tissues and attacks the jawbone. Periodontal pockets begin to form as gum tissue shrinks away from teeth, increasing the risk of tooth loss. After all, even healthy teeth can fall out if there is no gum to support them. Treatment can include antibiotics, scaling, root planning, and even surgery.
If there are any must-know tooth infection symptoms, the symptoms for tooth abscesses top the list. An abscessed tooth is a tooth with a pocket of infection around it. Without proper treatment, that pocket of infection could spread to neighboring teeth and also to other parts of your body, causing even bigger health problems. Symptoms of an abscessed tooth include pain, fever, a bad taste, and swelling. Seek care immediately. Abscesses are generally treated with antibiotics, incision and drainage, or root canal treatment. Surgery or extraction may be necessary to deal with the damage done to the tooth.
Thrush is a fungal infection that causes thick, white foamy lesions on the inner surfaces of the mouth. It may also bring pain and difficulty swallowing. Thrush is the result of an overabundance of the yeast Candida albicans. This reaction is often prompted by antibiotics, radiation, chemotherapy, or other medical treatments. It’s treated with antifungal medications.
Aphthous ulcers, which are better known as canker sores, are noncontagious ulcers in the mouth. They’re small, shallow, and white or yellow. While annoying and possibly painful, they aren’t a cause for concern. They normally heal by themselves in a week or so. Treatment consists of palliative care for the sores.
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
Caused by the Coxsackie A16 virus, hand, foot, and mouth disease is a virus that typically impacts children. Its symptoms include sore throat, fever, and uncomfortable blisters on the tongue and cheeks. The infection normally clears in a few days, but pain medication may increase comfort. Herpangina is a related condition that also tends to strike children. It causes fever, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and blisters at the rear of the mouth. Herpangina normally runs its course in five days.
Are you Experiencing a Tooth Infection?
We aren’t saying that all tooth infections are avoidable, but some are easier to treat than others. Your oral health is important. At Wekiva Dental, we are ready to answer questions about your oral healthcare concerns. If you’re worried about tooth infection symptoms, do not hesitate. Contact us today. We’ve got your back… ‘er—teeth!