Can GP Help With Tooth Infection?
A tooth infection can be a very painful and uncomfortable experience, which may lead to further complications if you don’t get it looked at. You may be wondering which of your health providers best equipped to deal with a tooth infection. In this article, we will address the question ‘can GP help with tooth infection?’, which we hope you find useful.
What is a tooth infection?
If bacteria enters the mouth, this can spread, and cause the teeth and gums to become infected. This could form a dental abscess, which is a pocket of pus that is caused by a bacterial infection. The abscess can form on the inside of the tooth, or on the surrounding gum.
An abscess may develop because of gum disease, untreated tooth decay, or damage to the tooth.
A tooth infection can also develop due to poor oral hygiene, inadequate dental care, dry mouth, or consuming a high intake of sugar.
What are the signs of tooth infection?
Here are the signs to look out for:
- Excruciating pain in the teeth or gums, which doesn’t go away with painkillers.
- Tooth pain that spreads to your ear, jaw and neck on the same side as the affected tooth or gum.
- Tooth pain which worsens when chewing, drinking, or lying down.
- Stiff neck
- Open, oozing sore on the gums.
- Swelling and redness of your gums, jaw and face.
- Sensitivity to very hot or very cold food and drinks.
- High temperature.
- Foul or bitter taste in the mouth or foul-smelling breath.
- Increased heart rate.
- General feeling of discomfort or illness.
If you can’t get an emergency dentist appointment in time, then we would urge you to seek advice from the NHS 111 service, who will ask you about your symptoms and then refer you to the most appropriate service.
What are signs that a tooth infection has spread to the body?
If your tooth infection spreads to other areas of your body, this can be dangerous.
- Nausea or vomiting
- Swollen neck glands
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Blurry vision
Can GP help with tooth infection?
If your tooth infection brings on additional symptoms such as facial swelling, or pain in the neck or jaw, then you may be thinking of contacting your GP for an appointment.
So, can GP help with tooth infection?
Well, if you have developed a tooth infection, then the best person to visit is a dentist, rather than a GP.
You should see a dentist as soon as possible, as they are highly trained and equipped to deal with tooth problems and dental emergences.
GPs have a great deal of medical knowledge and expertise, but they do not have the specialist knowledge of dentistry that dental professionals do. Additionally, a GP cannot carry out any dental procedures such as teeth cleaning, tooth extraction, drainage, or root canal treatment, which may be needed if your tooth is infected.
Moreover, a GP does not have the necessary equipment and lighting needed to clearly see inside a patient’s mouth and determine if antibiotics are the correct approach, or if further treatment is required.
Your GP may be able to prescribe you antibiotics to treat a possible infection, but this may not address the full problem of the tooth infection. You may need to get your dental abscess drained, or you may need a tooth extraction or root canal treatment.
Instead, the GP will recommend that you visit a dentist as soon as possible, to get your tooth infection examined and treated as per the dentist’s specialist knowledge.
That is why it is imperative to turn to a dental professional in the event of a dental emergency.
What treatment is needed for a tooth infection?
Depending on how severe your tooth infection is, there are different treatments available. Your dentist will offer you the most appropriate treatment to reduce your pain and discomfort and get rid of the bacteria that caused the infection.
If you have a dental abscess, the dentist may drain away the build-up of pus; or, they may carry out a root canal treatment, and you will be given a local anaesthetic so you don’t feel any pain. Alternatively, the dentist may extract the infected tooth.
Your dentist may prescribe you an antibiotic to eliminate the tooth infection.
What might happen if I don’t get my tooth infection looked at?
There are many health complications that could occur if you don’t get a tooth infection treated by a dentist.
Ignoring gingivitis and bacterial infections of the teeth can lead to periodontitis, which damages the soft tissue and, without treatment, can destroy the bone that supports your teeth.
In addition, the roots of the upper teeth are located close to the sinuses, so a tooth infection can spread throughout the body and block your airways, making it difficult for you to breathe, as you sleep.
An infected tooth can also affect your heart health: research has shown that people with gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and tooth infection are more likely to suffer cardiovascular problems such as a heart attack and stroke.
As you can see, an untreated tooth infection can cause a barrage of health problems. The earlier you get seen by a dental professional, the faster they will be able to help you overcome your problem, prevent further damage, and instruct you on the correct aftercare.
Emergency dental care at Didsbury Dental Practice
Our emergency dental care service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including on Bank Holidays and Christmas Day.
Our team of dental professionals can provide treatment for any type of dental emergency: from severe toothache and tooth infections to broken teeth, lost fillings or gum inflammation.
Didsbury Dental Practice has got you covered, at any time of day or night. Dental emergencies can be very painful, so we offer out-of-hours treatment because we know that dental problems don’t always stick to 9.00 am to 12.00 am.
To book an emergency appointment with us, it is not necessary for you to be an existing patient at our practice.
If you experience a dental emergency, simply call our dental emergency helpline on 0161 413 2509, or walk into our dental practice, and we will aim to see you as soon as possible.
We also offer compassionate dental care for nervous patients, because we understand that dentist appointments can bring on feelings of anxiety. Click here to learn more about our services for nervous patients.
What are home remedies I can use to deal with a tooth infection?
If you have a tooth infection, always follow the advice of your dentist or physician.
Follow these at-home methods to ease swelling, pain and discomfort:
- Rinse your mouth with saltwater, taking care not to swallow. Children should never do this, however.
- Apply a cold compress, or ice cubes, to your cheek or jaw, to ease swelling.
- Take an over-the-counter medication, exactly as directed on the packet instructions.
- Dip a cotton ball or cotton bud in clove oil, tea tree oil, or lavender oil, and gently apply it to the affected area in your mouth; these essential oils can help alleviate pain and promote healing.
- Rinse your mouth with peppermint tea. You can make the tea by pouring boiling water over dried peppermint leaves, or a peppermint tea bag. When you rinse, make sure that the tea is at a lukewarm or cool temperature, and not boiling hot, as it is dangerous to rinse with scalding hot water.
- It may not sound appetizing, but chewing on an onion may bring you relief. Onions are a natural antiseptic and can effectively eliminate germs in the mouth.
How can I prevent tooth infections?
- Attend regular check-ups at the dentist, so that they can identify problems and provide treatments quicker.
- Always follow the correct aftercare advice, following any dental treatments.
- Brush your teeth twice a day, especially after consuming sugary snacks.
- Limit your intake of sugary snacks and fizzy drinks, as these lead to cavities, which can cause an abscess.
- Floss daily and use mouthwash regularly, to keep your gums healthy.
- Don’t use your teeth anything other than eating. For example, using your teeth to open glass bottles can cause cracks in your teeth, which leave your teeth vulnerable to bacteria and infections.
- If you experience any symptoms such as toothache, soreness of the gums, or facial swelling, make a dentist appointment as soon as possible. It is better to be safe than sorry.
To learn more about Didsbury Dental Practice, visit our website here.
If you need an emergency appointment, call our dental emergency helpline on 0161 413 2835, or walk into our practice and we will aim to see you as soon as possible.
Check out our blog to read more articles on dental health.
To read similar content like this, read our blog articles on:
- Why You Should Deal With a Dental Emergency Quickly
- Top 5 Dental Emergencies
- What Is Classified as Dental Emergency?
- Does a Toothache Count as Emergency?
- What Can Be Considered as a Tooth Emergency?
- Are Dental Emergencies Covered by the NHS?
- How Much is an Emergency Dentist?
- Is it Painful to Get a Root Canal?
We hope we have answered the question ‘can GP help with tooth infection?’