Tooth infections can occur when bacteria and other microorganisms enter the dental pulp, the center of the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels. While the condition itself is not serious, it can result in pain, swelling, and redness of your gums. To help reduce inflammation and eliminate infection, you can try home remedies like rinsing with salt water or applying chamomile or tea tree oil to your gums. However, if your symptoms worsen over time, you might want to consider an antibiotic treatment as well. Here are some factors that can help you decide whether you should use antibiotics for tooth infection treatment.
A Tooth abscess starts when…
If you’re wondering how a tooth abscess starts, it’s actually pretty simple. A cavity gets so deep that it breaks through to your tooth’s pulp and releases infected material into your mouth. The infection causes swelling and inflammation in and around your tooth, leading to an abscess. An abscess can last for as little as a few days or as long as several months if left untreated. The longer it goes on, though, the greater chance there is of permanent damage to your teeth, gums or jawbone. That’s why you’ll want to treat one right away before things get worse.
But antibiotics aren’t necessarily your best bet: They’re not always necessary and they may not be effective against some forms of bacterial infections. What should you do instead? Let’s break down your treatment options by length of time since first symptoms appeared: 0-12 hours after symptoms began: If you’re experiencing a sharp pain, check with your dentist because they could fill and drain (also known as lancing) an abscess—usually at no cost—that developed just recently. You don’t have much time to wait around if you think an abscess has started to form near your nerve endings.
Tooth infection treatment options
When it comes to tooth infection treatment, there are two basic options: antibiotics and a root canal. The choice may seem simple when you’re suffering from pain, but know that antibiotics aren’t always necessary for infections. In fact, some research has linked antibiotic use to oral diseases in both children and adults. Root canals on their own can also be difficult procedures, so make sure you know your options before deciding what’s best for your specific case of tooth infection treatment.
Your dentist will be able to walk you through all available steps in treatment, including why antibiotics may not be the best option.
You should contact your dentist immediately if any of these symptoms occur following an injury or visit to another office or facility: earache (can indicate problems with damage inside teeth), sensitivity or discomfort near damaged teeth, fever and/or chills (can indicate infection). You should schedule an appointment as soon as possible if any of these symptoms occur after eating: sudden onset severe toothache; swelling near damaged teeth; fever and/or chills; vomiting; nausea or dizziness; bad breath (inflamed gums); hoarseness or difficulty swallowing.
What does it mean to get an antibiotic for a tooth infection?
Did you get a prescription for antibiotics after your dentist told you that there was an infection in your tooth? Maybe she said you needed to take a 10-day course of amoxicillin to kill off any remaining infection-causing bacteria in your body. While it may seem like a good idea, antibiotics aren’t always necessary for every case of dental infection. And in some cases, they’re actually harmful. Here’s what you need to know about taking antibiotics for tooth infections and when it’s best to avoid them.
Should You Take Antibiotics if Your Dentist Says You Have an Infected Tooth?: The short answer is probably not. If your doctor diagnosed you with a bacterial tooth infection by sending off a sample of fluid from your infected tooth, then it might be time to discuss antibiotic treatment options with her. But even then, don’t feel like you have to start swallowing pills right away (and for more than 10 days). If you’ve got other symptoms that point toward bacterial infection—sore throat or fever, for example—then by all means start on antibiotics.
But if symptoms are mild and there’s no pain associated with chewing or speaking then chances are good that antiobiotic medications won’t make much difference.
When antibiotics are appropriate for a tooth infection
If you’re suffering from an infection in your mouth, it’s important to treat it quickly before it causes more pain and/or tooth damage. That said, not all dental infections are caused by bacteria, which means antibiotics won’t always be able to do anything. If you think a bacterial infection is causing problems with your teeth (because of yellow or green-tinged discharge or strong odor), antibiotic treatment can provide relief. If you think other factors may be at play (food stuck between teeth, excessive bacteria in your mouth because of poor oral hygiene) antibiotics probably won’t help a whole lot. In these cases, lifestyle changes will likely be necessary to reduce signs of infection—and there are plenty out there.
For example, certain foods can irritate tender gums and possibly lead to infection, so avoid spicy food and things that stick between your teeth like chewy candy. Keep up with good brushing habits, floss regularly and keep regular appointments for professional cleanings. These changes might go a long way toward preventing any serious complications down the road!
When antibiotics aren’t right for a tooth infection
In order to prevent any future complications from developing, it’s important to understand what kind of infection you’re dealing with.
Tips on avoiding future tooth infections
Most people don’t give their teeth much thought until they start to hurt. These problems can be avoided by making some simple changes in your routine—brushing at least twice a day, flossing once a day, rinsing with mouthwash after meals and brushing your tongue to remove bacteria are just a few examples of things you can do on a daily basis to maintain good oral health. This can help prevent serious complications from setting in and keep your smile healthy for many years down the road.