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Dental pains shouldn’t be taken lightly, experts caution

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DentistA senior dental officer at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital {LASUTH), Dr. Olorode Ayodele, has warned Nigerians not to take for granted any kind of tooth pain to avoid complications.

According to him ‘an individual can develop a tooth abscess or swelling when the pulp of a tooth containing the connective tissue, vessels and nerves is invaded by bacteria which can result to deep fracture of the tooth.

Ayodele explained that pus shows up at the tip of the tooth or on the gum when bacteria invade the area between the gum and the tooth.

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‘’An abscessed tooth can lead to fatal complications because without treatment the infection could spread throughout the head and neck,” he added.

He cited that the jaw could begin to break, or the individual can even get an infection in the brain and die.

He pointed out that an abscessed tooth could also cause endocarditis, a bacterial infection that leads to an inflammation of the heart chambers’ and valves’ inner lining.

Abscesses he said have been known to cause sepsis, which is when infection spreads from its point of origin throughout the body. He further noted “It could as well cause pneumonia or, in rare cases, Ludwig’s angina, an infection under the tongue that causes extreme swelling and difficult breathing’’. The dental expert lamented ‘‘an untreated abscess will cause an infection to spread through the bloodstream and lead to widespread organ failure in the body.”

“Ten to 15 per cent of my patients get treated for abscess because people don’t go to the dentist except when they are in pain,’’ he expressed.

Ayodele mentioned some of the signs of abscess as severe toothache,
bitter taste in the mouth, breath odor, general discomfort, uneasiness, among others.

Speaking with a dental abscess patient who pleaded anonymity, she said “I was feeling pains, so I used salt and water it stopped but after three days it came back it was so painful I couldn’t sleep for four days my left eye was swollen my husband had to bring me to the dental clinic now am getting better.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), abscess in the mouth also know as periodontal abscess can be found in 15–20 percent of middle-aged (35-44 years) adults.


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