Question: My dentist told me that I have an abscess infection, but it doesn’t hurt. Do I really need to take care of it? Terry C. – Washington Twp.
Answer: The infection you are describing is called a chronic infection as opposed to an acute infection which would be painful. Chronic infections can be just as problematic as acute infections and sometimes even worse. These non-painful infections can cause the spread of bacteria through the bloodstream throughout the body and affect the heart, lungs, brain, and other vital organs. In extreme cases, hospitalization with intravenous antibiotics may be required to head off a severely debilitating situation.
Older patients and those who may be immune-compromised are at elevated risk for these types of problems. Although it is rare today, prior to widespread antibiotic use, severe dental infections were considered life-threatening.
The most common outcomes of ignoring a chronic abscess are bone and tooth loss. Additionally, infection of the sinus may occur from upper back tooth infections. In some cases, these non-painful infections may become painful without warning.
Overall, it is important to be aware that the absence of pain does not mean that dental infections are safe to ignore. It is best to seek care before problems escalate.
For questions about this and other dental procedures contact Dr. Guller at: email@example.com or call 201-391-5565.