Does a Tooth Infection Cause a Fever?

My child’s dentist told me that a dental infection will not cause a fever. I’m a little confused by this because I was previously under the impression it could. They didn’t seem to want to explain anything. I came across your blog and thought I’d ask you. Can a dental infection cause a fever? Why or Why not?

Camille

Dear Camille,

Woman holding her jaw in pain from TMJ

I think there was likely a communication error here. What they likely meant to say is that a dental infection doesn’t always come with a fever. Often, a dental infection is contained within the tooth and a fever won’t be a symptom. Sometimes, however, it will create a fever. It is an infection. Another symptom some patients have is a feeling of being run down. In fact, I’ve known doctors who when they can’t figure out why a patient feels so poorly will send them to the dentist. If it turns out they have a dental infection, having it removed makes them feel better.

If you and your child are getting regular dental care, it is unusual for a tooth to suddenly blow up. Most of the time cavities can be caught early and you can get a small composite filling. However, if you delay going in or don’t see the dentist regularly, it can grow without you realizing it.

If they decay get’s too large, you will go from needing a small filling to needing a dental crown. If it grows even further, then you’re talking about it reaching the pulp and a root canal treatment will become necessary in addition to the crown. Preventative care is the least expensive dental work you can have.

When Patients Avoid the Dentist

It doesn’t sound like you are someone who avoids dental care. However, I’m saying this for the benefit of others who might be reading this who do struggle. In general, people avoid the dentist for two reasons. The first is financial. The second is fear of the dentist.

If finances keep you from the dentist there are a few options. Some dental plans are inexpensive. They’ll cover your cleanings and check-ups and give mild discounts on the larger ticket items. However, getting those check-ups usually prevents you from needing any of the bigger treatments.

Additionally, most dentists are compassionate and went into the field because they want to help people. If you explain financial issues, they may be willing to allow you to pay out your treatments.

If fear keeps you from the dentist, there are dentists who are great at working with patients who suffer from anxiety. You can do an internet search for them and it may give you the positive experience you’ve been needing to get back to the dentist regularly.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.