Infected teeth can be a painful nuisance. If you have a toothache, the chances are that you have an infection in one or more teeth. Even if the pain is manageable and doesn’t make you feel miserable, you should request an appointment at Elite Endodontics in Pensacola, FL.
The longer you wait to address a tooth infection, the greater risk you have of the harmful bacteria spreading to other tissues in your mouth, head, and body. Without prompt treatment of the infected tooth from Dr. Todd and our team of endodontic professionals, a minor endodontic infection could jeopardize your entire well-being.
Signs That You Have an Infected Tooth
If you have a tooth infection, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Tooth sensitivity to heat and cold
- Tooth sensitivity when biting
The pain of an infected tooth can vary between people. One person might experience mild discomfort around the site of the affected tooth, while another person could have extreme pain that radiates through their jawbone, neck, or ear. In some cases, people develop a fever with an infected tooth. Lymph nodes under the jaw or neck can become swollen and feel tender.
Tooth infections occur due to harmful oral bacteria infiltrating a tooth’s soft core or pulp. Anything that could increase the presence of bacteria in your mouth and the interior of your teeth will raise your risk of a tooth infection.
You are more likely to develop infected teeth if you smoke tobacco products. Smokers are twice as likely to develop oral infections as people who don’t smoke. Other risk factors include dry mouth, poor oral hygiene, and a weakened immune system.
How We Diagnosis Infected Teeth at Elite Endodontics
At Elite Endodontics, Dr. Todd can quickly diagnose a tooth infection during a visual inspection. His thorough endodontic exams include checking your teeth and surrounding tissues for signs of infection, such as swollen or inflamed gum tissue. Dr. Todd may also perform a tap test in which he gently taps on each tooth to determine their levels of sensitivity or pain.
He may also recommend an x-ray with our 3-D Cone Beam imaging. Cone-beam computed tomography is an innovative medical imaging technique that provides endodontists with three-dimensional views of the patient. In certain cases, CBCT greatly enhances the endodontist’s ability to diagnose, evaluate, treat and care for patients. During a CBCT scan, the machine rotates around the patient, capturing images using a cone-shaped X-ray beam. These images are then used to construct a 3-D representation of the patient’s teeth, oral and maxillofacial region (mouth, jaw, and neck), and ears, nose, and throat giving the endodontist a much more in-depth view of your teeth and surrounding structures than with a standard dental x-ray.
Infected Teeth Treatment Options From Elite Endodontics
Treatment for an infected tooth varies. At Elite Endodontics, we may perform a root canal to eliminate the source of the infection.
Formerly, in standard root canal therapy, a lot of tooth structure had to be removed in order to give access to the files to remove the infected tissue. Now, we can use the GentleWave® technology to thoroughly disinfect and remove the infected dental pulp while maintaining more of your natural tooth structure. Once Dr. Todd removes the infected tissue he will fill the canals and seal the pulp chamber with a temporary filling. A permanent filling or dental crown will then be needed to cover the tooth to protect it from further damage. This will be done by your general dentist.
Our goal is always to save natural teeth, but sometimes the best solution is to remove them. If a tooth extraction is necessary, Dr. Todd will discuss tooth replacement options. Should the infection spread to other parts of your mouth, neck, or head, he may prescribe antibiotics to prevent additional spreading.
Preparing for Your Appointment
Before your appointment with Dr. Todd, it may be helpful to write down your symptoms, even things that don’t seem related to your oral health. He will also need a list of your medications. Some drugs can cause dry mouth, increasing the risk of infection.
At-Home Sore Tooth Treatment
After your appointment at Elite Endodontics for an infected tooth, you can take certain steps to manage your pain and promote healing, such as rinsing your mouth with warm, lightly salted water. Not only is salt water a natural disinfectant, but it may also loosen food particles stuck between teeth.
You might also consider taking over-the-counter pain medication and anti-inflammatories like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. It may also be more comfortable to avoid eating or drinking anything too hot or too cold because your teeth might be sensitive after treatment.
Oral hygiene after treating infected teeth is important, but you should exercise caution around the affected area. Do not floss around treated teeth, and be sure to brush using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Dr. Todd will provide you with a set of aftercare instructions. Feel free to ask him or a team member any questions about post-treatment care to ensure that you know how to help your mouth heal correctly.