“It’s just a small sore, it will go away.”
“I’m too busy right now, I’ll go to a dentist later.”
“A little sensitivity is no big deal.”
It happens to most Midlothian residents at least once in their life. Your teeth become sensitive to cold drinks. A tooth develops a dull ache. A sore on the gums doesn’t heal up. An injured tooth darkens. A pain develops in your lower sinus area.
This is definitely not a situation where the “ignore it and it will go away” mentality is wise. If the pain is the result of a dangerous infection, there are grave consequences of postponing treatment. Oral bacterial infections can destroy teeth, gums and jawbone and even lead to life-threatening sepsis. In fact, prior to the 19th century, tooth decay-related infection was a leading cause of death.
An oral infection doesn’t always cause pain. Bad breath, fever, swelling in the gums, glands or jaw, or a strange taste in the mouth can indicate the presence of an infection.
If an infection is caught and treated early, there may be no additional problems. However, usually the infection is the result of a dental problem that needs to be treated. If the infection is caused by tooth decay, the decay will have to be removed and the tooth filled. If the decay has penetrated to the pulp of the tooth, a root canal may be required.
The infection may be the result of a pocket of undrained pus called an abscess. Pus is a by-product of the immune system’s efforts to fight infection and consists of dead white blood cells.
Mouth sores have various causes including an infection or virus. White patches in the mouth can indicate thrush (an oral yeast infection). All of these conditions can be treated – but you need to see your dentist.
I am Drs. J. Scott White, Pranee White, and Darrell Guttery of White & White. If you have any signs of oral infection, or haven’t had a dental exam in the past year, I encourage you to talk to me. To schedule an appointment, call my office today at 804-302-5592.
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