If you have a tooth abscess or a severe dental infection, then you may experience throbbing pain in the area of the infected tooth. While a toothache is one of the most common symptoms of a dental abscess, there are other, less common symptoms that can put your overall health in danger. Here are some emergency symptoms of a tooth abscess and why you should visit a dental clinic at the first sign:
Bad Taste When Biting Down
If you develop a bad taste in your mouth, especially when biting down, you may have a purulent, or pus containing, infection. The pus can seep out of the infected tissue spontaneously, or when biting down. If not recognized and treated as soon as possible, the bacteria in the drainage can lead to a strep infection, or even a systemic infection.
If the tooth is not cleaned and treated, or if the appropriate antibiotic is not quickly administered, a dental-related systemic infection may raise your risk for internal organ problems. If a dental abscess is recognized and treated promptly at the dental clinic, however, your risk for serious infection or complications are low.
Another emergency symptom of a dental abscess is a parasthesia in the facial area. Parasthesia refers to an abnormal sensation in an area of the body that can feel like burning, pricking, numbness, or a crawling sensation. If felt in the facial area, parasthesia may indicate inflammation or damage of one of the cranial nerves.
This can be the result of a severe dental infection, and if not diagnosed and treated quickly, may lead to permanent nerve damage. While treating a dental abscess may promote healing of the inflamed nerve, it may take weeks or even months before your abnormal sensations go away. If your facial parasthesia persists after your tooth abscess has been successfully treated, your dentist may refer you to your physician or a neurologist for further evaluation and treatment.
If you believe you have a severe tooth infection, make an appointment at the dental clinic as soon as possible. Your dentist will take a bitewing x-ray to evaluate the extent of your infection, and will clean and treat the infected area. If needed, extraction or root canal may be recommended. The sooner a dental abscess is recognized and treated, the less likely you will be to develop complications such as a systemic infection or damage to one of your cranial nerves.