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5 Symptoms Of An Abscessed Tooth: Don’t Ignore The Warning Signs!

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, highlights the critical issue of abscessed teeth, noting five red flags that should not be ignored.

What Is an Abscessed Tooth?

An abscessed tooth occurs when a bacterial infection reaches a tooth’s pulp, causing a pocket of pus to form. If left untreated, an abscessed tooth can lead to severe pain, tooth loss, and even systemic health problems.

What Are the Symptoms?

One of the most common symptoms of an abscessed tooth is a severe, throbbing toothache. The pain can be sharp, continuous, and may radiate to the jawbone, ear, or neck. The intensity of the pain often makes it difficult to chew or bite down on the affected tooth. Other symptoms may include:


Swelling of the Face and Gums

An abscessed tooth can cause noticeable facial swelling, typically around the affected tooth and jaw. The gums around the infected area may appear red, swollen, and painful to touch. In some cases, the swelling can be severe and affect the entire side of the face.


Sensitivity to Temperature

Individuals with abscessed teeth may experience increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. Drinking a hot beverage or consuming cold foods can trigger sharp, shooting pain in the affected tooth.


Bad Breath and Unpleasant Taste

The presence of an abscessed tooth can lead to bad breath (halitosis) and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. This occurs due to the release of pus and bacteria from the abscess, which can have a foul odour and taste.


Fever and Fatigue

In more severe cases, an abscessed tooth can lead to systemic symptoms, including fever, fatigue, and unwellness. These symptoms indicate the infection has spread beyond the tooth and may require urgent medical attention.

“An abscessed tooth is not a minor dental issue to be ignored. Early detection and treatment are crucial to prevent the infection from spreading and causing further complications,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“If you experience any of these symptoms, seek prompt dental care”.

The Consequences of Neglecting an Abscessed Tooth

Ignoring the symptoms of an abscessed tooth can lead to a range of serious complications:

Spread of infection: If left untreated, the infection can spread to other body parts, including the brain, causing life-threatening conditions such as meningitis or a cerebral (brain) abscess.

Tooth loss: Prolonged infection can destroy tooth structure, leading to the need for extraction.

Systemic health issues: The systemic effects of an untreated abscessed tooth can include heart problems, sepsis, and an increased risk of diabetes complications.

Chronic pain: Persistent pain and discomfort can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life.


Seeking Immediate Dental Care

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is essential to seek immediate dental care. A dentist can diagnose an abscessed tooth through clinical examination and imaging, such as dental X-rays. Treatment typically involves draining the abscess, removing the infected pulp, and administering antibiotics to clear the infection.


Preventing Abscessed Teeth

Preventing an abscessed tooth begins with good oral hygiene practices:

Brush your teeth: Brush your teeth at least twice daily using fluoride and a soft-bristle toothbrush.

Floss daily: Regular flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and along the gumline.

Visit your dentist: Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings to catch and address dental issues early.

Address cavities promptly: If you have them, have them filled by your dentist to prevent them from progressing to an abscessed tooth.

Practice gum health: Gum disease can contribute to abscessed teeth, so maintain healthy gums through proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits.

Limit sugary foods and beverages: Reducing your intake of sugary foods and drinks can help prevent dental decay.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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