Symptoms of an Infected Tooth
And what can I do to relieve the pain?
What is an infected tooth? A tooth might appear to be a hard, lifeless bone; however, that is just the surface. Underneath the outer layers of enamel and dentin are living nerves and blood vessels. Collectively, this area of the tooth is called the pulp. When a tooth experiences damage, decay, or has severe gum disease in the adjacent soft tissue, there is a possibility of infection.
Most commonly, patients describe this sensation as a toothache. It may be either a sharp or dull pain, throbbing, or severe overall pain that persists. Often, as the discomfort progresses, you’ll know exactly which tooth is the one causing the problem. In other situations, the pain is so severe that it radiates outward to surrounding teeth. In either case, there is nothing to fear; we will pinpoint the source of the problem and determine the appropriate treatment.
If you have an infected tooth, we may first prescribe antibiotics and/or painkillers to reduce the swelling and relieve the pain. It often helps to delay the treatment of the infected tooth until it is less inflamed and less sensitive. Then, the most common form of treatment is a root canal. It’s not what patients like to hear, but root canals are a standard procedure that is all about eliminating pain. We access the inner workings of your tooth, which relieves that painful buildup of pressure. Next, the infected pulp is removed and replaced with a biocompatible filling material. We finish off the treatment by capping the tooth with a porcelain dental crown. (You may first receive a temporary, with the final restoration available at your follow-up appointment.)
If you suspect that you have an infected tooth, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible so the problem doesn’t progress into a more severe condition. Please call us today at (619) 621-5000 to schedule an appointment.