Toothaches are no joke. And we’re not just saying that because of the pain they can inflict. We’re saying it because toothaches can be life-threatening. That’s right; you can actually die from a toothache. That’s a scary thought.
If left untreated, a tooth infection can spread to the rest of your body and cause major complications. An infection can enter your bloodstream and even make its way to your brain. As soon as you notice signs of an infection or tooth abscess, you should make an appointment with your dentist.
Tooth infections can be treated in a few different ways. Treatments may include a root canal, tooth extraction, or an antibiotic prescription, dependent on the individual situation. However, even if you seek treatment, knowing the symptoms and warning signs that the tooth infection is spreading is essential.
Here are some of the most common symptoms to look out for that may suggest your tooth infection is spreading to your body.
When An Infection Goes From Bad to Worse
A tooth infection may be mild to start. Little to no pain. No symptoms. But it can quickly take a turn for the worse. Symptoms can develop and become severe. Signs you may have a tooth infection include toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold, bad breath, a pocket of pus on or near the gum line, and sensitivity to chewing or biting.
The longer you wait to have the infection addressed by your dentist, the more at risk you’re putting yourself. So, if you begin to experience any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
When you develop a fever, whether related to your teeth or not, it’s a response to your body trying to fight off the infection. When your body temperature gets too high, your body becomes a hostile environment for bacteria. However, when your body temperature remains high, it isn’t healthy for your body.
At the start of your tooth infection, you may experience a slight fever, but a fever that shows no signs of going away is a major warning sign that your infection is spreading to your body.
2. Feeling Unwell and Fatigued
Once your tooth infection begins to worsen, you may start experiencing symptoms similar to a cold or flu. Along with a nagging toothache, you will have chills and sweats along with a headache. In addition, pain may travel to your jaw and ear.
If you know you have a tooth infection and you begin just to feel lousy, and like you’re coming down with something, you should see your dentist right away. Feeling unwell or just flat-out tired is an early red flag that shouldn’t be ignored.
This may sound a bit unusual, but you often become dehydrated when your body has an infection. This is because the infection uses all your water, leaving your body in need. When this occurs, you may notice you do not have to urinate as frequently, and when you do, your urine is darker than usual. Other signs of dehydration include confusion, stomach pain, loss of energy.
4. Increased Heart Rate and Heavy Breathing
A very important symptom not to turn a blind eye to is if you begin to notice your heart rate increasing. If your heart begins to race and you feel as if you can’t get enough air, this can quickly turn into an emergency. An increased heart rate and difficulty breathing are both signs of sepsis.
Sepsis is a life-threatening medical emergency that occurs when an infection has entered the bloodstream. It’s your body’s extreme response to fighting off the infection in which it causes inflammation throughout the body. This can lead to a multitude of side effects, including organ failure.
Do not wait to see your dentist if these symptoms arise; contact medical help immediately.
5. Swelling and Increased Pain
Another common symptom that a tooth infection may be spreading to your body is if your face and other parts of your body begin to swell. Minimal swelling is normal for a tooth abscess; however, if it becomes severe enough where you start to have severe pain or difficulty swallowing, you need to seek medical attention.
Swelling can make it difficult to open and close your mouth, which may also hinder your breathing.
Get Treatment and Practice Prevention
If you’re suffering from a tooth infection, don’t wait to seek treatment. You should always contact your dentist at the first sign of a tooth infection or abscess. While you wait to see your dentist, you can treat discomfort with an over-the-counter pain reliever. Also, you should keep the infected tooth and area around it clean. Rinse with warm salt water to flush bacteria. Avoid chewing on that side if possible. Watch out for symptoms that your tooth infection is spreading.
Once you have been treated and your tooth infection is a thing of the past, take preventative measures to prevent another one from developing. Follow good oral hygiene that includes brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and using a mouth rinse. Stay up to date with your routine cleanings. The best way to keep your smile healthy and happy is through prevention. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today!