A toothache is a common dental health complaint that people typically will ignore until it can no longer be. Often you find patients in the early stages of tooth decay who do not consider minor tooth pain a serious problem. This perception remains intact until minor pain turns into major pain and severe tooth decay.
Minor tooth pain is not something that can simply be waved away. This article examines its connection to sepsis as well as what you can do to prevent or treat it.
Toothache and Sepsis
In most cases, a toothache is a symptom of an infection, but many people do not seem to that this is what their body is telling them. These infections usually do not cause serious problems at the initial stage. Besides the discomfort resulting from your toothache, your body is able to deal with them relatively well.
However, if you fail to seek treatment while an infection remains, it may get to a point where your body may not be able to combat it effectively anymore. This can allow such infections to worsen and possibly give rise to an abscess, which may become visible as a pocket of pus on the gums. Intense pain, swelling and sensitivity issues are among signs of a dental abscess.
Sepsis is the result after leaving an infection untreated for a long time, this is a reflection of your body’s attempt at getting rid of such infection. It develops when your immune system releases into your bloodstream chemicals intended to fight the infection. These substances can lead to chronic inflammation throughout your body when present in a high amount for an extended period, constituting a potentially serious threat to your life
Dangers of Sepsis
If your toothache has a connection to an abscess, you will likely feel relief if and when it ruptures on its own. But that does not exactly mean you are off the hook; it might be a signal that the real problems are about to start.
The breaking on an abscess could lead to spreading of the infection to other parts of the oral cavity or your body if released into your bloodstream. Symptoms that can suggest that an infection is spreading include:
- Stomach discomfort
- Facial swelling
- Rapid heart beat
The resulting sepsis has the potential to kill you. It ranks among medical conditions that result in hospitalizations and cost a significant amount of money to treat – it’s one of the most expensive. Perhaps, you might find it more surprising to learn, as reported by the National Institutes of Health, that a person with this illness is five times more likely to suffer fatality than someone having a stroke or heart attack.
Scientists report that dental infections contribute significantly to the incidence of sepsis in the body. For instance, a review of studies reported by the New York Times in 2013 showed that hospitalizations due to dental abscesses jumped some 40 percent between 2000 and 2008.
How to Prevent Toothache and Sepsis
Proper oral hygiene can help you keep toothache and, possibly, resulting sepsis at bay. Make it a habit to brush at least two times a day, preferably after every meal, and floss at least one time per day.
The following will also help:
- Using mouthwashes and rinses to effectively eliminate bacteria
- Limiting sugars and starches in diet
- Avoiding using your teeth as scissors or as a bottle opener
- Changing your toothbrush every 3 or 4 months
- Visiting your dentists every six months
You will probably agree that these are very easy things to do to keep an infection that can result in sepsis from terminating your life.
Dr. Mjahed may prescribe antibiotics for prevention or treatment. Other options for addressing the root cause or contributor to a toothache or an infection include crowns, fillings, braces and a root canal procedure. Dr. Mjahed might also suggest complete removal of a tooth as the only or most effective means of dealing with pain and infection and preventing unpleasant consequences of sepsis.
Treatment For Tooth Infection At Our Dental Practice in Monroe, NC
Monroe Family Dentistry is there for you and your children from day one and we are happy to work with you and your child to start habits from birth. If you live near Monroe, NC call us to schedule an appointment today at 704.776.4278.