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Illustration showing dental bacteria

What are dental infections?

Any pain or swelling in your mouth due to a tooth problem is considered a dental infection.

What are different dental infections?

The origin of dental infections can be categorized broadly as:

  • Dental origin
  • Periodontal origin

Majority of time the infections of dental origin are those that cause pain and swelling due to cavities that have extended to pulp. These infected teeth may have pus that has spread to the underlying bone cause extreme pain and discomfort.

The infections of periodontal origin are those where the teeth may be cavity free but the extensive loss of bone has caused infection.

What causes dental infections?

Whatever type of dental infection you have, the most common cause is from bacteria.

Our mouth has close to 20 billion bacteria. When you have a healthy mouth, the health promoting bacteria are dominant and they keep your oral cavity healthy.

Infection occurs when harmful bacteria overwhelm the healthy bacteria. This happens due to diet, oral hygiene habits, and your general health.

When bad bacteria overtake, the enamel of the teeth dissolves and the bacteria now spread to the second more porous layer of the teeth, called dentin. Usually this is when you have hot, cold and sweet sensitivity. If left untreated, these bacteria spread to the underlying nerves and cause pain and pus formations which spread to the underlying bone.

The second kind of infection is periodontal infection. The bacteria in these cases instead of attacking the teeth attach the supporting bone. This causes the bone to dissolve. Lack of adequate support to the teeth will make them loose.

How can you prevent dental infections?

Dental infections can be prevented by following these simple guidelines:

  1. Home care is the most important aspect in achieving a healthy mouth. Home care is not limited to brushing and flossing. Your diet and your general health play an important role too. If your diet consists of acidic food, foods high in sugar content the chances are higher to have a poorer oral health even if you brush and floss twice a day. The harmful bacteria feed off the sugars and multiply causing more harm to you. Diseases like diabetes, eating disorders, certain medications that dry the mouth all make you more prone to dental infections.
  2. Biannual dental exams combined with X-rays and Oral prophylaxis is a great way to detect dental infection at an early stage

What to do when you have a toothache?

It is always better to prevent a toothache by having a healthy oral and health care regimen. Make an appointment with a dental provider at the earliest sign of discomfort. It is very important to follow the recommended prescriptions as directed. If you fail to follow the directions, your infection could get worse and you may end up having unpleasant side effects. It is always prudent to do treatment as recommended at your earliest convenience, if you wait longer the treatment necessary for you may become more expensive and extensive.

Third Molar infections

Third molars also known as wisdom teeth deserve a special mention in the dental infections. Wisdom teeth cause problems sometimes as they are partially erupted and are difficult to clean. They also come at an angle. This makes a good breeding ground for both dental and periodontal infections.

If your dentist mentions to you to remove your wisdom teeth, do it ASAP. As it will be very painful if they are infected.

At Carrollton Smiles, Dr. Sirisha Bhandaru offers exceptional care when you are in pain. If you are experiencing dental pain or you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bhandaru, please call us at (972) 245-3455 or send us as message.


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