What is a Jaw Infection and what does it feel like
An infection in the jaw is most often caused by some sort of dental infection. Your dentist is able to treat certain conditions that affect the jaw including those that also affect the head and neck. In the event that you need care beyond that with your dentist can provide, they will refer you to a specialist which may include an oral surgeon or otolaryngologist. If your jaw pain is a result of a dental abscess, your dentist will likely be able to drain the abscess and prescribe a round of antibiotics to kill the infection.
There are a few symptoms to look for if you suspect that you have a jaw infection including: pain and/or swelling in the jaw, neck, or face; tender, puffy gum tissue; tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, and sugar. Pain resulting from a jaw infection can radiate down into the neck and up to the ears, head, and even the eyes.
What is a dental abscess?
An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms at the tip of a tooth root. When a dental cavity is left untreated, the bacterial infection works its way through the enamel and dentin before it invades the pulp of the tooth, which is the tissue that holds the nerves and blood flow in each root canal. If it is caught early, a dental abscess can often be treated with root canal treatment where an endodontist creates an access hole in the tooth and cleans out each canal of the infected pulp.
A tooth abscess can be extremely painful and you may develop a visible bump where your tooth meets your gum tissue. Pain from an abscess can radiate into your face and jaw causing facial swelling, swollen lymph nodes, and fever. Without treatment, the bacteria from an abscess can get into your bloodstream and travel to other parts of your body.
In the event that your tooth abscess ruptures, you may experience immediate relief from jaw pain but it will be temporary. An abscess absolutely requires the attention of a medical professional, including antibiotics to kill any remaining infection. If you allow the abscess to rupture and do not seek medical attention, the abscess will reform and your discomfort will continue.
Sometimes, an infection can develop directly in the temporomandibular joint in your jaw. This is called osteomyelitis and is signified with pain in the jaw and face, facial swelling, and fever. Antibiotics can be used to resolve the infection but if you do not receive treatment in a timely manner, part of the jaw bone can actually begin to die.
It is vital to seek immediate medical attention for an abscess. Your dentist will try to drain the abscess and will probably prescribe antibiotics. In severe cases, the tooth may need to be pulled or surgery performed to stop the infection from spreading further into the bone.