3 Health Conditions That May Be Linked To Dental Abscesses

If you or your teenager have ever had a dental abscess or severe tooth infection, your symptoms may have been toothache, gum inflammation, problems with braces, purulent drainage, and a bad taste in the mouth. Though these are the most common symptoms, a dental abscess can heighten your risk for other health conditions. Here are three ways a severe tooth infection can lead to medical problems and what you can do about them:

Sinus Infection

Because your dental abscess is probably caused by a bacterial microorganism, you may be at risk for developing a bacterial sinus infection. This is especially true if your abscess is in the upper row of teeth, bacteria-laden drainage from your tooth can migrate into your nasal passages, infecting your sinus cavity.

If you have a tooth infection with subsequent pain in your forehead, pressure around your eyes, nasal congestion, fatigue, or sore throat, see your dentist and physician for further evaluation and treatment. If your child who wears braces has a sinus infection, make an appointment with a dentist specializing in teenager orthodontics who will monitor your teen's condition to determine if any modifications need to be made with his or her brackets.

Facial Paresthesia 

A dental abscess can affect one of your cranial nerves such as your facial nerve. If this nerve becomes inflamed or damaged as a result of a severe tooth infection, you may develop symptoms. These include facial paresthesia, or abnormal sensations in the face. If you experience burning, numbness, or pricking feelings on your face, one of your cranial nerves may have been affected by your abscess.

Your symptoms may resolve once your dentist has treated your infection; however, nerve damage may persist for many months. If your teenager experiences facial paresthesia while wearing braces, the orthodontist may recommend taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help minimize discomfort.

Systemic Inflammation

When you have any type of infection, including those affecting your teeth and gums, your body releases substances known as pro-inflammatory cytokines. These substances can cause a body-wide inflammatory reaction which may raise your risk for arterial inflammation. It is thought that arterial inflammation may be a risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disease. 

It is important that you see your dentist at the first sign of an abscess so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. If an abscess is treated promptly, your risk for developing systemic inflammation will be decreased. If you develop a toothache, bleeding gums, a bad taste in your mouth when you chew, or drainage, see your dentist right away.

When an abscessed tooth is recognized and treated early on, you are less likely to experience any of the above adverse reactions. Seeking treatment for a dental abscess is especially important for teens who wear braces; failure to do so may result in bite abnormalities, damage to gum tissue, oral infections, and pain. For more information, contact companies like Cobbe Dental & Orthodontics.