What Causes a Tooth Infection?

What Causes a Tooth Infection?

There’s little pain quite like a toothache caused by an infected tooth. 

If a tooth infection goes untreated, you can experience increasingly bothersome symptoms, lose the tooth, or even land in the hospital. By understanding what causes tooth infections, you can take steps to lower your risk. 

Our expert team at Swinney Dental in Tyler, Texas, diagnoses and treats tooth infections to improve your oral health. We also provide preventive care to help you avoid them.

Here’s a closer look at tooth infections, including potential causes and treatments.

Causes behind tooth infections

A tooth infection is when a harmful microorganism, such as bacteria, enters the tooth. If you develop an infection at the tip of a tooth’s root, it’s considered a periapical abscess. A periodontal infection starts in the bone and surrounding gum tissue.

Numerous factors can cause problematic bacteria to gather in or around your teeth and cause infection, including:

You may also be prone to tooth infections if you have a family history or skip routine dental cleanings at our office, which go beyond the cleansing you can do at home.

Signs of a tooth infection

A tooth infection often affects nearby tissue and can become a dental abscess. This pocket of pus in your gums can cause many irksome symptoms, such as the following:

If the abscess ruptures, you may notice a rush of bitter, salty fluid in your mouth, followed by some pain relief. However, that doesn’t mean that the infection is gone.

Treatment for a tooth infection

If you’re showing signs of a tooth or gum infection, our team at Swinney Dental will rule out or confirm the diagnosis by way of an exam. We may also run an imaging test, such as an X-ray.

If you have a tooth infection, your treatment may involve:

You can lower your risk for future infections with oral hygiene practices. Brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily, including into the crevices between the bottom of each tooth and your gum line. Meanwhile, replace your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every 3-4 months or sooner if it looks frayed. 

If your infection is due to decay, swishing a fluoride or antiseptic mouthwash once or twice daily adds more protection. And don’t forget to come into our office for professional cleanings every 6-12 months.

To learn more about tooth infections, call Swinney Dental today. You can also schedule an appointment using our convenient online booking feature.

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