3 Uncommon Signs Of An Abscessed Tooth

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If you have ever had an abscessed tooth, or severe dental infection, then you are probably well aware of the throbbing pain that it can cause. While pain and sensitivity are the most common manifestations of a dental abscess, there are other, less common, symptoms that may indicate that you have a serious infection in one or more of your teeth. Here are three unusual signs of an infected tooth, and what you can do about them:

Facial Nerve Pain

If you have an abscessed tooth, the infection can spread to your cranial nerves, including the facial nerve. When this happens, you may develop numbness and tingling sensations in your forehead, cheek, and chin. Facial nerve involvement can also lead to searing burning sensations on the same side of your face as the abscess and can even mimic the symptoms of a painful neurological condition known as trigeminal neuralgia.

Although abscess-related facial symptoms often resolve once the tooth has been treated, it may take many months before the nerve inflammation settles down. In rare cases facial nerve disorders related to tooth problems can last for years and in some cases become permanent. If your facial pain, tingling, and burning sensations fail to resolve even after your abscess has been treated, you may need to make an appointment with a neurologist for further evaluation and treatment. 

Sinus Infection

If you have a dental abscess in one of your top molars, the infection may spread to your sinuses. This can lead to nasal congestion, thick mucus inside your nose, and pain or pressure in your frontal sinuses. In some cases, two simultaneous infections, your dental infection and your sinus infection, can overwhelm your immune system, and because of this, you may experience systemic symptoms.

These may include fever, chills, general malaise, loss of appetite, and fatigue. A course of oral antibiotics may help resolve both infections; however, if your abscessed tooth is severe, or if you have more than one abscess, dental extractions may need to be recommended. 

Gastrointestinal Problems

Dental abscesses can also lead to gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, and vomiting. This happens as a result of the infectious dental drainage being accidentally swallowed, which can make you sick.

Not only can the tooth infection lead to gastrointestinal distress, the antibiotics that you're taking to resolve the abscess can also leave you feeling ill. In most cases, after you have completed your entire course of antibiotics and once your abscess has been treated, your stomach problems will go away.

If you believe you might have a dental abscess, see your dentist. The sooner a severe tooth infection is recognized and treated, the less likely you are to experience unusual and sometimes severe secondary symptoms. Click here for more information.