As decay breaks down the dentine, bacteria begins to infect the pulp (nerve tissue) and pus can form between the end of the root (apex) and the jawbone. Abscesses cause severe pain because pressure on the nerve increases as the pus increases. If left untreated, a dental abscess may burst through the skin of the face, or into the mouth. This may leave a channel (a sinus tract), through which the pus can discharge.
What to look for
- Tooth hurts when it is tapped gently
- Pain all the time, even when trying to sleep
- A sore or swelling on the gum near where the root ends
- Swollen gums around the tooth, or swelling and reddening of the face on the same side
- Fever and trismus (inability to open jaw/mouth).
abscess bursting through skin (sinus)
Swelling of gum at root of toot
Lower left jaw dental abscess
Cellulitis can occur when a tooth or gum infection spreads through layers of skin to areas of the face , head and neck.
This can be serious if not treated promptly because the infection can develop suddenly and may spread throughout the body.
Red and swollen cheek with infection spreading to neck
Pus collection and reddening of face and neck
Ludwig’s angina is a serious infection. Cellulitis is present in the floor of the mouth, under the
tongue, and spreads across the lower jaw from one side to the other. This is potentially life
threatening because if left untreated the swelling can obstruct the airways.
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