A tooth infection, or an abscessed tooth, generally occurs as a result of tooth decay and poor oral hygiene. However, it can also develop due to previous dental work or traumatic injury.
When an infection occurs, it causes a pocket of pus to form in the mouth as a result of an overgrowth of bacteria. This infection often causes swelling, pain, and sensitivity in the area. Without treatment, the infection may spread to other areas of the jaw or even the brain.
As one article notes, up to 91% of adults aged 20-64 have cavities. Also, around 27% of people in the same age group have untreated tooth decay. Treating tooth decay early is important to prevent complications such as tooth infections.
Anyone who experiences a tooth infection should see a dentist right away to prevent the infection from spreading. One of the first things a dentist will likely recommend is an antibiotic to kill the infection.
Dentists will typically only recommend antibiotics in dentistry for tooth infections. However, not all infected teeth require antibiotics. In some cases, a dentist may simply be able to drain the infected area, remove the infected tooth, or perform a root canal to fix the issue.
They tend to avoid recommending antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary, such as when the infection is severe or spreading, or if a person has a weakened immune system.
Although antibiotics can help clear a tooth infection, it is important to use the appropriate antibiotic in each situation.