A simple toothache generally isn’t a dental emergency. However, if you experience a toothache along with a fever and swelling in the face, you should call us right away. These symptoms could indicate a dangerous infection known as a tooth abscess.
What is an Abscess?
A tooth abscess is a problem caused by a bacterial infection, and it creates a pocket of pus. There are two main types of an abscess, a periapical abscess that occurs at the root tip and a periodontal abscess that occurs at the side of the root in the gums.
An abscess occurs when bacteria invades the dental pulp via a cavity, a crack in the tooth, or spread of the bacteria down to the root. Risk factors include poor dental hygiene, dry mouth, and a diet that is high in sugar.
What Are the Symptoms of an Abscess?
The greatest symptom of an abscess is a severe, throbbing, and persistent toothache. It can radiate into the ear, neck, or jawbone, and sensitivity may increase with cold and hot temperatures or biting pressures. Other symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes, swelling in the face, and difficulty swallowing or breathing.
Why Are Abscesses a Serious Concern?
Unfortunately, a tooth abscess cannot go away on its own, and it needs immediate treatment. If the abscess does not drain, the infection can spread into the jaw, neck, and head. Sepsis is also a real concern, and this potentially deadly infection could spread throughout the body. Treatment options may include draining the abscess, use of antibiotics, and performing a root canal.
If you are suffering from a toothache and a fever, don’t wait any longer. Call our office today to get the next available appointment and let us evaluate whether or not you have a dental abscess.