If you have continuous pain described as “extreme, gnawing, sharp, shooting or throbbing,” you more than likely have an abscess. Warmth or pressure on the tooth may induce extreme pain and there may also be swelling at the base of the tooth, the gum or the cheek.
Treatment often includes antibiotics and drainage. If the tooth can be restored, root canal therapy can be performed — if the tooth can’t be restored, it must be extracted.
If left untreated, a tooth abscess may become large enough to perforate the bone and extend into the soft tissue surrounding the tooth. From there, it will follow the path of least resistance, spreading internally or externally. Severe complications requiring hospitalization may occur when the growing infection closes the airway leading to suffocation in extreme cases. Infection can also spread down the tissues posing significant consequences to vital organs like your heart.
The hallmarks of infection are: pain, fever and or swelling. If you experience one of these three complaints you visit the dentist.
The best prevention for infection? Practice good oral health including regular hygiene appointments and examinations.