Openings in the tooth enamel allow bacteria to infect the center of the tooth (the pulp). Tooth infection may spread out from the root of the tooth and to the bones supporting the tooth.
A tooth infection is usually caused by a dead tooth. Everything inside the dead tooth breaks down and liquefies and there is nothing to fight bacterial growth. This mixture of living bacteria and rotten tissue leaks out of the end of the tooth and cause tooth infection.
There are three basic types of tooth infection:
- Infection inside your tooth, in the living pulp tissue
- Tooth infection which occurs in the bone around the end of the tooth (tooth abscess)
- Gum infection. This dental infection occurs in the gum tissue
The most common type of tooth infection is dental abscess, it’s an infection of the mouth, face, jaw, or throat that begins as a tooth infection or cavity. These infections are common in people with poor dental health and result from lack of proper and timely dental care.
One of the first signs that a tooth infection is out of control is the presence of pus. Pus is a thick yellowish white material made up of living and dead bacteria, white blood cells, and dead tissue.
Infection results in a collection of pus (dead tissue, live and dead bacteria, white blood cells) and swelling of the tissues within the tooth. This causes a painful toothache. If the root of the tooth dies, the toothache may stop, unless an abscess develops. This is especially true if the infection remains active and continues to spread and destroy tissue.
Pus can cause a foul taste and foul smell. Most infections cause dental pain but many remain silent and painless for years. You can have this tooth problem without feeling the tooth infection and dental abscess and without a toothache. This why it’s important to see a dentist regularly.
Sinus Infection and Tooth Pain
Tooth infections in upper premolars and molars do have the potential for perforating into the maxillary sinus, although this is somewhat rare. Whether this is a probability often depends on the proximity between the roots of these teeth and the floor of the sinus, which can be determined on x-ray.
What is more common is a difficulty in distinguishing the pain that results from a sinus infection from that resulting from an infected upper tooth, since pain is difficult to localize in the area. Distinguishing the two is important, however, since the treatment of sinus and dental infections is different.