All mouths contain bacteria, and infections can develop when that bacteria penetrates the teeth or gums. Proper oral care can help prevent this from happening, but infections can sometimes develop when bacteria get under the gumline or attack the root of a tooth. When this happens, you're likely to experience pain, swelling, and a fever. In some cases, an abscess may develop beneath the gums.

While an infection might not sound like an emergency, it's really something you need to have treated right away. Here are just four reasons why.

1. Pain Can Grow Worse

When a tooth becomes infected, you're likely to experience acute pain that radiates out from the affected area. You might be tempted to put off treatment while the pain is still bearable, but you're likely to find that the pain will only become more intense. As such, it makes sense to seek relief and treatment as soon as possible. 

2. Infections Can Spread

An infection that starts in your mouth will not necessarily stay there. Infections can often spread to the jawbone, and this can lead to serious health issues and the need for more extensive treatment. Since your teeth and sinuses are so close, an infected tooth may also trigger sinus irritation or a bacterial sinus infection. In rare cases, infections can even spread to other parts of the body and get into your bloodstream, causing septicaemia. This means a tooth infection that goes untreated can end up putting your general health in jeopardy.

3. Teeth Can Be Saved

Many people underestimate the impact infections can have on a tooth. Unfortunately, an untreated infection can lead to severe decay or irreversible damage to the dental pulp. In such cases, it's likely the tooth will need to be extracted — if left untreated long enough, the tooth may even break apart or fall out by itself. This is obviously something you'll want to avoid, and you can improve your chance of retaining affected teeth simply by seeing a dentist sooner rather than later.

4. Treatment Can Be Simplified

If you're tempted to put off seeing an emergency dentist because you're afraid of the procedures that may be required, it's worth remembering that you're only increasing your risk of requiring more invasive treatments, such as root canals. If caught early, a dentist may only need to make a small incision to drain any pus and then prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. 

Contact an emergency dentist to learn more.