Within orthodontia and especially pediatric orthodontics, tooth infections are some of the most common issues. Children are at a greater risk of infection than adults due to immune systems that haven’t fully developed yet, and they’re an important factor to combat in young teeth.

Here at Redwood Orthodontics, we’re here to help with dental infections – both treating them and preventing them. Here are a few common warning signs of a dental infection that can signal you need an immediate visit to our office.

Pain and Sensitivity

Severe gnawing, throbbing or shooting pain is one of the most common signs of a tooth infection. Pus collects in the affected area, making it sensitive to touch and often extremely painful. This pain is aggravated during chewing.

There may be times where a toothache goes away, but know that this doesn’t always mean the infection is gone. It could be the result of pulp in the tooth dying, which may reduce pain but will allow the infection to continue spreading.


An infected tooth will often turn a darker color than teeth around it, another sign that can be easy to spot.


It’s common for swelling to take place in the neck, jaw and within the gums. If your child’s gums are red or swollen in the area around one of their teeth, this could be caused by infection. You may also see basic skin swelling in the neck and jaw as the infection spreads.

Taste and Breath

If your child complains of a bad taste in their mouth, or if they have bad breath accompanying a toothache, this could be a sign of infection – especially if the bad breath is a persistent issue, and not just a one-time thing.

Sickness and Appetite

Certain severe infections might lead to fever or other sickness, including nausea, vomiting, chills and diarrhea. You may also notice a loss of appetite and weight loss in children, especially infants and toddlers. These children can’t communicate their feelings, and may not be able to tell you their tooth hurts, so you need to be diligent in searching for the cause.

To learn more about dental infections and how to prevent them, or to find out about any of our other orthodontist services, call us at Redwood Orthodontics today.