Photo By PRUDENCIOALVAREZ at istock
Many oral health problems can trigger infection just as infection may, occasionally, set in after surgery. Your Frisco, TX, oral surgeon has many treatment options for eliminating and even reducing the risk for infection. It’s important to understand the signs of infection so that you can consult with your dental professional and get the timely treatment you need. If left untreated, infections can spread and become dangerous; plus, they tend to cause great discomfort. Here, we’ll explore infections as they relate to oral health and pre and post-surgical conditions.
What Causes an Oral Infection?
There are many types of oral infections that can affect your oral health. Some are more common than others. Often, it’s the presence of suspected infection and its telltale symptoms of pain and inflammation that compel patients to visit their dentist or oral surgeon. Our mouths, of course, are loaded with bacteria. The presence of tooth decay or unhealthy gums can leave our mouths vulnerable to infection. A decayed or broken tooth is often the site for oral infection. While some infections will clear up on their own, others may not. Some of the most common oral infections include gingivitis, herpangina, oral herpes, canker sores, periodontal disease, and thrush.
What Are the Symptoms of Oral Infections?
Symptoms of oral infections vary depending on the type of infection present. Common symptoms of oral infection include:
- Teeth sensitivity
- Bad breath
- Swelling of gums
- Swollen jaw
- Swollen neck glands
- Sensitivity to hot and cold sensations
In some cases, the pain may be easy to keep at bay with over-the-counter pain relievers. However, take care with these. Pain can indicate that infection is present. Pain relievers only mask the pain temporarily; they do not treat the infection and have no properties that can eliminate its presence. Pain should alert you to make an appointment with your surgeon or dental professional.
How Does Your Oral Surgeon Treat Infection?
Many types of oral health infections that occur because of a decayed or damaged tooth or gum disease require antibiotics to clear up the infection. In fact, if you require a dental procedure like tooth extraction, your dental professional will likely treat the infection, too, and then perform the procedure once the infection has cleared up. If the infection has caused an abscess to form, your surgeon may need to drain it before they perform any dental procedures such as a root canal. The most common antibiotics used to treat infections and oral abscesses include:
Your surgeon may opt for one or another depending on whether or not you’re allergic to certain antibiotics and the specific nature of your infection.
Are Oral Infections Serious?
An oral infection can become quite serious if left untreated for too long and depending on the individual’s overall health. Infections can spread from the soft tissues of the mouth to the bone. The pain can become quite intense. But worse than the pain, the infection can spread to the bloodstream and cause sepsis, a potentially deadly condition. Each year, more than 1.7 million people develop sepsis, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Each year as many as 270,000 die from sepsis.
What Causes a Post Dental Procedure Infection?
When your Frisco, TX, oral surgeon performs a surgical procedure, they do so in the presence of your mouth’s wide array of germs. While they wear gloves and use perfectly sterile surgical tools to perform oral surgeries, exposed soft tissues can still be a magnet for those infection-causing germs. Post-surgical infection isn’t a common occurrence but it can happen. Your surgeon will likely try to ward off the development of an infection as effectively as possible.
What Are the Signs of a Post-Surgical Dental Infection?
It can be a little more challenging to determine if you have an infection after oral surgery. This is because the surgery itself could leave you with some degree of pain. Bleeding can be a sign of post-surgical infection, but it’s also common to experience some bleeding just after your oral surgery. On the other hand, if your pain does not subside with pain relief medicine and continues to throb, you should alert your oral surgeon. If you note the presence of pus, you should also tell your surgeon as that is a sign of infection.
Preventing and Treating Post-Surgical Oral Infections
In some cases, if you have a health condition that compromises the function of your immune system, your oral surgeon will start you on a course of antibiotics directly following your surgery in order to prevent infection from setting in. Typically, healthcare providers don’t like to overprescribe antibiotics or prescribe them without the presence of infection.
So, if your overall health is normal, your oral surgeon is unlikely to prescribe antibiotics unless you actually need them or unless the surgery was quite extensive, involving the extraction of multiple wisdom teeth, for example. However, each surgeon uses their own discretion when prescribing medication for their patients.
Remember to alert your surgeon if you experience any signs of infection after your oral surgery. The sooner you treat the infection, the less discomfort you’ll experience and ensure that it’s quickly cleared up.
Also, proper dental and oral health care can provide a robust defense against the development of infection. If you had a dental procedure or surgery, be sure to follow your provider’s after-care instructions. Failing to follow instructions could leave you more vulnerable to infection development.
The oral surgeons of NextGen OMS have the experience and expertise needed to treat oral infections. If you experience any pain, swelling, or other signs of oral infection, you can consult with one of our Frisco, TX, oral surgeons to get the treatment you need. Contact us to schedule a consultation or checkup if you are experiencing any unusual oral health symptoms such as swelling, bleeding, or pain. We’re here to provide you with the experienced care you need to support your oral health.