Ask a Dentist

March 11, 2022

Q: What Is A Tooth Infection?

Dental tools next to a close up of bacteria

Toothaches are never a good thing, and sometimes, they’re a sign of something much more serious like a tooth infection. Tooth infection occurs when bacteria invade the pulp (soft area in your tooth) through a chip, crack or cavity. 

A tooth infection can affect the tooth itself, the tooth root and nearby gums. Continue reading to find out the symptoms, what causes the infection and how to treat it. 

Signs Of Tooth Infection

A sore or throbbing tooth is the most common sign of a tooth infection. Left untreated, you’ll begin to notice swelling, difficulty chewing or pain extending to the jaw, face and neck.

Other signs to look for include:

  • Bitter taste in your mouth
  • Bad breath 
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity


According to the American Dental Association, tooth decay, periodontal disease or a cracked tooth can contribute to the infection. Any of these dental problems can lead to bacteria entering the pulp, which causes pus build-up, also known as a tooth abscess

Cavities and gum disease are both caused by poor dental hygiene and plaque build-up in and around the teeth. 

Tooth Infection Remedy

The treatment for a tooth infection depends on your symptoms and the state of the infection. Most people will need antibiotics, but in some cases, the patient may need the abscess drained or undergo a root canal treatment

If you experience any tooth infection symptoms, you should see a dentist as soon as possible. It will not go away without treatment, and it’s likely to spread pain to other parts of your body like the jawbone and surrounding areas. 

Practicing proper oral hygiene, like brushing twice a day and flossing daily, can prevent cavities and gum disease altogether (the two main causes of tooth infection). And if you do ever find yourself with a sore or throbbing tooth, feel free to visit Dental Image Therapy Centres for treatment. The quicker you consult with a dentist, the faster you’ll be pain-free and healthy again. 

Book an appointment with us today at one of our Winnipeg locations (St. Vital Centre and Garden City Shopping Centre) if you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort in your tooth.

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