Tooth infection
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Tooth infection can be any kind of infection that affects the tooth and some parts of the oral cavity like the gums around the teeth. When talking about tooth infection, this usually involves the nerves which are the geometric center of the tooth and feeds out through the end of the root. When these nerves in the tooth die, it becomes an opening for opportunistic microorganisms to enter and infect not just the tooth but the surrounding areas as well.

Any kind of damage to the teeth is the precursor to having a tooth infection. It can be through a trauma or cavities, but once your teeth get damaged, the nerves inside your teeth become vulnerable. Harmful microorganisms see this as an opportunity and will try to attack the damage teeth and the nerve in it. If the microorganisms win, the nerve of your tooth will die and this is how a simple tooth cavity or trauma becomes more dangerous.


Once the infection sets in, the supporting bones of the tooth and the adjacent tooth will be eaten away. This infection will make you lose one or more of your teeth and could also cause swelling of the gums around the infected teeth. But it is not just the teeth that will be affected. There is a possibility that other parts of your face may swell as well.

If left untreated, the swelling could affect your jaws and possibly impair your swallowing reflex and finally shut off the airway passage.

There are 3 types of tooth infection. They have their own different characteristics but one thing common about them is the fact that they can cause so much pain. The first type of tooth infection is when the infection is inside your tooth (the living pulp tissue). This usually results from severe irritation or tooth decay. Normally, the body would send out its defensive warriors to fight off with the infection. But in the case of tooth infections, this is not possible. There is no room for the white blood cells or the antibodies and that is why they break down. Even antibiotics can't fully help the teeth recover from this kind of infection.

The second type of tooth infection is when the infection is located in the bone around the end of the tooth. This type of tooth infection will cause a tooth abscess. In this type of tooth infection wherein the bacteria is located on the bone, the white blood cells and antibodies can be put to use. But there is still a problem in this kind of situation. New bacteria are constantly being supplied to the infected region. These bacteria are supplied by the dead tissue inside your tooth. However, there is a possibility that the body's immune system can win against the infection. Unfortunately, the result of the battle between the infection and the immune system may last for several years. And if your antibody is on the losing side and you did not know about it, you may just someday notice that your teeth are in constant pain and that the infection has already spread to the other areas of your mouth.
tooth infections
Image: Tooth Infections

The 3rd type of infection is gum infection. This type of infection occurs in the gums surrounding your teeth. This too can result in abscesses. This type of infection can also be fought by the body's white blood cells and antibodies. This is actually a special type of infection which is already handled not by the dentist but a periodontist.


The misconception of people that tooth infections are not that serious and life threatening is wrong. There have been cases that tooth infections have led to death. This is possible especially when the infection was not contained and has become systemic. It means that the infection has gone to infect the body system.

The cardinal sign of tooth infections is pain. Because of this pain, a person with tooth infections may lose weight because of loss of appetite. Redness and swelling may also become noticeable on the face of the person.


Since it is an infection, just like with other infections, a person may experience fever and general body malaise or weakness. Apart from the tooth ache, he or she may also experience headaches and lightheadedness.

A person with tooth infections will, most often than not, have foul taste in the mouth and bad breath odor. When looked at by the dentist, the infected tooth may have stains of color brown at the center or around the tooth itself.

There are also several lab work ups that a person may undergo during a dental checkup. If there is a suspected infection, the dentist may ask his or her patient to have a tooth or several teeth to be x-rayed. Through this examination, the doctor can assess the extent of the damage of the infection.


As have been mentioned, the antibodies are not that effective against the microorganisms that have invaded the tooth. The same thing goes with antibiotics since there are certain areas that the antibiotics can't reach. Usually the best treatments for tooth infections are extraction and root canal. Extraction means the removal of the whole tooth which includes the nerves.

Root canal however is different. The soft tissue inside the infected tooth is removed to stop the constant supply of bacteria. It will then be plugged with a sealer to prevent bacteria from entering the tooth again. Root canal is much more expensive compared to tooth extraction though.

The optimum way of preventing tooth infections is to follow proper hygiene. After every meal, if possible, brush your tooth and floss. Remember the proper way of brushing that was taught to you when you were still a kid? That will help in preventing tooth infections.

It would also help to eat the right kinds of food. And as much as possible, stay away from the very sweet stuff like chocolates and candies. You could eat them but not on a regular basis.
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Medication commonly used for these disease:

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