Tooth infection starts as a small cavity and may be all but unnoticeable until it becomes very serious. This is one of the many reasons you need to maintain regular office visits with Tarrytown dentist Dr. Wanda Mejia. These visits allow Dr. Mejia to detect tooth infection long before symptoms occur, and to provide proper treatment as soon as infection is detected.

If you are overdue for an office visit with Dr. Mejia, please contact Advanced Dentistry of Tarrytown online or by calling (914) 332-4402 to schedule your next appointment.

Do I Have an Infected Tooth?

Your tooth may be infected if you are experiencing symptoms including:

  • Dull or throbbing tooth pain
  • Increased sensitivity or sharp pain in a single tooth
  • Swelling of gum tissue
  • Pimple or open sore on the gums
  • Fever
  • Sudden tooth darkening

Other symptoms such as chronic bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth that will not respond to brushing may also be an indication of tooth infection. These issues can also indicate gum disease and should be brought to Dr. Mejia’s attention as soon as possible.

How Teeth Get Infected

A tooth infection begins as a cavity. Bacteria cause cavities, and as your cavity grows, it shelters many different species of bacteria. Once the cavity penetrates through the outer layers of your tooth–the enamel and the dentin–it penetrates the inner chamber. The living part of the tooth, called the pulp, fills this chamber, but when bacteria reach it, they kill your tooth.

The process of killing your tooth can be slow or fast. Initially, the bacteria may crowd the pulp chamber. This puts pressure on the tooth nerve, which is what causes pain. However, if the tooth nerve gets killed off quickly or the pulp chamber drains easily, you might not experience pain in an infected tooth.

Do I Need Treatment?

You can’t use your level of pain to judge the seriousness of your tooth infection. Whenever you have an infected tooth, you should consider it serious and talk to a dentist about treatment. An untreated tooth infection can turn deadly by spreading to your blood, brain, or lungs.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of an infected tooth, you may require root canal treatment. This procedure involves making a small access hole in the tooth through which bacteria and debris can be removed. Dr. Mejia performs this treatment on all teeth, including molars, and can often accomplish complete removal of infection in a single office visit.

Root canal treatment is not nearly as invasive as popular culture has made it seem. In fact, the process is no more uncomfortable than a typical dental filling. Nonetheless, if you are nervous about this treatment, Dr. Mejia would be happy to discuss safe sedation options that can be used to help you feel more at ease during your procedure. Our office also provides NuCalm relaxation dentistry to help patients who experience dental anxiety. Usually, a root canal is the only way to save an infected tooth. Otherwise, we will recommend tooth extraction.

If you are experiencing symptoms of an infected tooth, please contact our Tarrytown family dentist to schedule an examination today. Dr. Mejia serves Westchester County, New York .