How long can a tooth infection go untreated?

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Dental infection and tooth infection can lead to abscess
Patient points to severe gingivitis

An infected tooth should never be left untreated. The longer you wait to get it treated, the less chance you will have at being able to keep the tooth. As the infection progresses, the success rate of treatment decreases.

Left untreated, a tooth infection can spread and lead to more serious issues such as an abscessed tooth or even sepsis.

What is a dental abscess?

Dental abscesses are caused by bacteria and appear as a collection of pus. They can form inside the teeth, gums, or bone that holds the teeth in place. If the abscess is at the end of the tooth, it’s called a periapical abscess. A gum abscess is called a periodontal abscess.

Dental abscesses can be painful, but not always. In either case, they should be looked at by a dentist as soon as possible. Abscesses do not go away on their own and can sometimes spread to other parts of the body and make you ill if left untreated. Symptoms of a dental abscess include throbbing tooth or jaw pain, fever, swollen lymph nodes and cheeks, bad breath, a bitter taste in the mouth, and over-sensitivity to hot and cold.

5 Symptoms of a Tooth Infection:

Late-stage tooth infection vs early-stage tooth infection

1. Severe toothache that may be constant or intermittent

2. Swelling of the gums, face, and/or jaw

3. Pus drainage from the infected area

4. Fever

5. Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth

If these symptoms are left untreated, they can worsen and cause complications such as facial cellulitis (an infection of the skin and soft tissue), septicemia (blood poisoning), meningitis, Ludwig’s Angina (a life-threatening condition where bacteria gets into the throat and spreads to the neck) or even death. Therefore it is important to seek immediate medical attention so that any infection can be treated promptly. Seeking timely medical attention will not only reduce the risk of serious medical complications, but it may also save your tooth.

It is important to note that some infections can take weeks or even months to show any signs or symptoms and so it is important to get regular dental checkups regardless of whether you are experiencing pain or not. That way, your dentist can catch any signs of infection early and provide treatment before they become more serious.

10 ways to tell if you have a tooth infection

There are certain things to pay attention to and watch out for if you suspect a tooth infection:

1. Pain in the affected area when you chew, bite or touch your teeth or gums

2. Swelling of the face, jaw and/or neck

3. Redness of the gums near the affected tooth

4. Discharge from the infected area that may be foul smelling or contain pus

5. Bitter taste in your mouth associated with bad breath

6. A persistent fever not caused by another illness

7. Fatigue and general malaise not caused by another illness

8. Difficulty opening your mouth wide due to pain or swelling

9. Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures on the affected side of your face

10. Tenderness or swelling of the lymph nodes near your jaw and/or neck

A severe infection can spread to other parts of the body and cause sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition.

By promptly seeking treatment from a dental professional, an infection can be treated before it becomes more serious. Depending on the severity of the infection and how long it has been present, treatments may include antibiotics, root canal therapy, extraction (removal) of the infected tooth and in some cases, surgery.

It is always better to be proactive about dental health and seek immediate assistance if you believe you may have a tooth infection.

What happens if an abscessed tooth is left untreated?

Severely decayed tooth with a periodontal abscess

If an abscessed tooth is left untreated, it can lead to the spread of infection and cause serious health problems. The infection could spread to surrounding teeth, gums, jaw bone or other areas of the body. This can cause swelling of the face and neck, severe pain, fever, chills, nausea and vomiting. You may also be at risk for sepsis if the infection spreads to your blood stream.

A tooth infection should not be ignored as it can result in serious health complications if left untreated. Seeking prompt medical attention will reduce your risks and help ensure that any infections are treated promptly and effectively.

Will you need root canal treatment if a tooth is infected?

In some cases, root canal treatment may be necessary to save an infected tooth. Root canals involve cleaning the interior of a tooth and sealing it to prevent future infections. During the procedure, your dentist will remove any infected tissue, reshape the inside of the tooth, clean it with antibacterial solution and then seal it with a filling. This helps to restore the health of the affected tooth and protect it from further infection.

If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort in your teeth, you should see a dentist as soon as possible to assess what kind of treatment is needed. Ignoring dental problems could lead to serious complications if left untreated.

What is the Canadian Dental Association’s recommendation for an infected tooth?

The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends that anyone experiencing persistent or severe tooth pain should see a dentist as soon as possible. A comprehensive exam and appropriate treatment are necessary to ensure the health of your mouth and prevent any further infection or complications. This is especially important for abscesses which can quickly worsen if left untreated.

If you think you may have an abscessed or infected tooth, it is important that you seek prompt dental care from a qualified professional such as a general dentist.

An infected tooth should not be ignored and if left untreated could lead to serious health concerns.

Will you need antibiotics to treat an infected tooth?

It is possible that your dentist may prescribe antibiotics as part of the treatment for an infected tooth. Antibiotics help to reduce inflammation, stop the growth of bacteria and prevent further infection. In some cases, antibiotics are needed in order to save a severely infected tooth or to reduce the risk of serious complications such as Ludwig’s Angina or septicemia.

If your dentist prescribes antibiotics, it is important that you take them exactly as directed and finish all doses even if you start feeling better. Not taking them as prescribed may lead to drug resistance which can make future infections harder to treat.

If you think you have an abscessed or infected tooth, itโ€™s important that you see a dentist right away. Ignoring dental problems can lead to serious health risks if left untreated. Your dentist will assess the infection and determine the best course of action for treatment, which may include antibiotics, root canal or other procedures. With prompt and appropriate treatment, your abscessed tooth can be saved and you can enjoy good oral health.

What causes a tooth to get infected and form an abscess?

A tooth can become infected if bacteria invade the inner tissue of the tooth, which is known as the pulp. This can happen due to a dental cavity, cracked or chipped teeth, or gum disease. Once inside the tooth, bacteria create an infection that can cause swelling and pain. If left untreated, this infection could spread to other areas of your mouth and even enter your bloodstream. This is why itโ€™s so important to seek prompt treatment for any signs of a dental issue.

What are some tips for preventing tooth infections?

The best way to prevent a tooth infection is to practice good oral hygiene habits such as brushing at least twice per day with fluoride-containing toothpaste, flossing regularly and visiting your dentist for regular check-ups. Additionally, it is important to limit sugary and acidic foods or drinks which can cause cavities and decay.

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