What to do if you have an infected tooth

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If you experience mouth pain, swelling, inflammation in the gums, a foul taste in the mouth, tooth sensitivity, facial redness, or even a fever this may indicate an infection in your tooth. 

(We know that’s not what you want to hear!)

So, if you’re wondering what to do if you have an infected tooth—here’s some practical advice to help you understand what this means and your next best steps. 


An infected tooth is also generally referred to as an abscessed tooth

Periodontal disease, tooth decay, or a cracked tooth can cause an infection where bacteria enter the pulp (this is where connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels are found in the soft tissue of the tooth). 

The bacteria in the pulp is what can eventually lead to pulp death as a pus-pocket (abscess) forms.

Infection can happen in the teeth, jawbone, and surrounding tissues if left untreated. 

What Are the Symptoms of an Infected Tooth? 

If you have an infected tooth, you’ll most likely know it by the pain in your mouth, or near a tooth. 

The pain can start out of nowhere and gradually—or suddenly—worsen. 

Keep in mind, even if the pain does go away that may indicate a larger challenge with nerve damage and the potential of bacteria spreading further. 

Other symptoms to look for—

• Radiating pain in your jaw, ear, and neck area

• Worsening pain when you lie down

• It hurts to chew or bite 

• Lymph nodes that are tender or swollen around the neck and jaw area 

• Swollen face and/or gums

• Facial and/or gum redness 

• Teeth that are discolored or loose 

• Bad breath and/or taste in your mouth 

• Sensitive teeth 

• Fever 

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to call your dentist for the next best steps. 

What Are the Treatment Options for an Infected Tooth? 

The goal of treating an infected tooth is to clear the infection and relieve pain. 

This can be done in different ways depending on severity. 

Treatment options include—

• Abscess drainage. 

An incision is made where the abscess is located, and the pus is drained. The area will also be cleaned with a saline solution. 

• Root canal. 

This procedure will not only clear the infection but save the tooth as well. A root canal will remove the infected pulp and fill the space with material that will help prevent infection. A crown may also be used to cap and strengthen the tooth. 

• Tooth extraction. 

Can a dentist pull an infected tooth? Most definitely. Dental extractions may be necessary if the tooth can’t be saved while allowing the abscess to drain. 

• Antibiotics. 

This medication can aid to clear the infection, especially if it has spread or an immune system is weakened. Keep in mind, antibiotics may help with infection, but the tooth will also need to be treated. 

Whether an infected tooth is causing you a little pain, or A LOT of pain, it’s best to contact your dentist as soon as possible—especially if what once was severe pain has now subsided. 

Whatever treatment option is used will not only help relieve the pain but treat the infection as well, so you can get back to feeling your best!

Need help with a tooth causing you pain? 

We’d love to help you feel better! 

Give Integrity Dental in Pueblo, CO a call today to get started.