What Tooth Infection Symptoms Tell You
Pain is the most common of the tooth infection symptoms we are likely to encounter. Pain is a good thing in this case, since most of time it tends to be severe enough that we want to do something about it, and do something about it right away. When we have a sore leg, or an infected finger, we may put treatment off for some time, or not treat the problem at all, assuming the pain will go away and our body will take care of whatever has caused the pain.
Not so with tooth infection symptoms, be those symptoms pain or something else. Not only do we want relief, but it's also very important that we have the infection treated as soon as possible. An infected tooth can lead to a number of problems, some of them quite serious.
A Mild Toothache - Early on, there may not be any noticeable tooth infection symptoms, as the affected part of the tooth may be a part that has no nerve endings, such as the enamel, and the gums may not yet have become infected. When the infection has reached a point where pain is felt, the pain tends to be quite mild at first, something an aspirin or a mild pain killer can handle. We pop a pill in our mouth, the pain goes away, and all is well, or so we think. Besides, there seems to be little point in running to the dentist every time one of our teeth is bothering us a little bit.
An Irreversible Process - The problem a tooth infection poses is this. Unlike infections the body can deal with and cure without any need for treatment, an infected tooth generally does not get any better. The infection almost always gets worse. Treatment, by keeping the teeth clean for example, may halt the spread of the infection for a time, but it will not halt it forever, and certainly will not reverse any damage that has already been done.
Sensitivity To Temperature – While pain is in most instances the symptom we experience, there are other symptoms to watch out for that can alert us to the fact that a tooth is infected or diseased. A tooth that is not healthy is quite often very sensitive to temperature changes, and is especially sensitive to cold. A healthy tooth can sometimes be temperature sensitive, but the condition is usually quite temporary. If a tooth is diseased or infected, the discomfort caused by a change in temperature will usually tend to linger on, and will tend to become progressively worse as time goes on.
Sensitivity To Pressure – An Abscess - An infected tooth can also be sensitive to pressure. The tooth may not be causing pain most of the time, or when one is not eating, or when one is eating soft food. It may become the source of a sharp pain however when one bites on something hard. When a tooth is particularly sensitive to pressure there's a good chance that an abscess has developed, and the pain that is being experienced is due to pressure on the abscess. This is something that definitely needs to be taken care of, and taken care of as soon as possible.
Swollen Gums - Swelling is another of the tooth infection symptoms that tells us to seek treatment immediately. While our teeth do not swell, the gums can, and very often will if the infection is bad enough. Swelling in the gums tells us either that they are infected, or both the gums and a tooth are infected. As is the case with an abscess, when swollen gums are in evidence it's extremely important to get treatment without delay.
Fever - Finally, if the pain and the swelling are accompanied by a fever it's an indication that the infection may be spreading. An abscessed tooth will seldom be accompanied by a fever, but if the gums, or worse yet the jawbone, have become infected, running a fever is a distinct possibility. In a worse case scenario, which is quite possible if a tooth infection is left untreated for too long, the glands in the neck may become swollen, indicating that they too have become infected.
If The Pain Disappears - What can even be worse is when one is experiencing a constant toothache, possibly accompanied by swollen gums, and the pain suddenly ceases. That could be taken as a sign that all is well, but exactly the opposite is most likely true. If the pain ceases, it is often due to the fact that the root in the tooth, and the nerve within it that has caused so much pain, has died. A dead tooth will not ache. The infection is still there, and probably is still spreading. The lesson to be learned here is that an infected tooth will not cure itself. If the infection becomes bad enough, the tooth will simply die. A more important lesson is that tooth infection symptoms should never be ignored. They are warning signals, and should be taken as such.