When your body is actively fighting an infection or disease, your lymph nodes can swell in response. These tiny, bean-shaped glands play a vital role in your immune system, helping your body to recognize, fight, and filter out bad bacteria, viruses, and other harmful invaders. While illnesses like the cold and flu can trigger swelling, dental problems can also lead to lymph node inflammation. Let’s dive in and take a look at 7 dental reasons for lymph node swelling, and why a lymph nodes dentist consult is needed ASAP to prevent complications.
Identifying Dental Conditions That Inflame Your Oral Lymph Nodes
If you have untreated dental conditions such as an infected tooth or gum disease, harmful bacteria can spread to the lymph nodes in the oral cavity and trigger an immune response. This can lead to swelling in the lymph nodes located below the lower jaw, under the jawline, on the sides of the neck, behind the ears, and under the chin. Dental ailments that can cause this type of swelling include:
1. Swollen Gums - Gingivostomatitis: this is a painful oral infection that causes blisters and canker sores in and around the mouth. It can develop from not flossing and brushing enough, and generally having poor oral hygiene. Seeing a lymph node dentist can help diagnose this kind of oral infection, and they may recommend antibiotics or minor oral surgery as treatment.
2. Untreated Cavities: a cavity is a decayed or damaged part of a tooth, which develops when bacteria break down your tooth enamel and create a hole. If left untreated, the cavity will grow and eventually cause pain, infection, and even tooth loss. If an infection sets in, the lymph nodes near the affected tooth can swell, as your immune system tries to combat the infection. Prompt dental attention is required to save the tooth and to prevent infection from spreading.
3. Dental Abscesses: dental abscesses are highly concerning to a lymph node dentist due to their potential for serious complications. These pockets of pus are caused by bacterial infections and are often accompanied by severe pain, swelling, and discomfort in the affected tooth and surrounding gums. If a dental abscess is left untreated, the infection can spread to the surrounding tissues, resulting in tooth loss, and even systemic health issues.
4. Canker Sores: these are small, painful sores that develop inside the mouth. You can identify them by their round/oval shape, white or yellowish center, and their red borders. Factors such as stress, injury to the mouth, certain foods, hormonal changes, and immune system problems can trigger development. Seek treatment if they don’t go away within 1-2 weeks and are accompanied by swollen lymph nodes.
5. Oral Thrush: this is a fungal infection that occurs in the mouth, caused by an overgrowth of yeast. The symptoms include painful, creamy white lesions on the tongue, inner cheeks, and roof of the mouth, that sometimes bleed when scraped. A lymph node dentist can treat these with anti-fungal medications, such as oral rinses or lozenges.
6. Periodontal Disease: if you have a severe form of gum disease, you may experience localized inflammation in the gums. If periodontitis is left untreated and unmanaged, this can lead to swollen lymph nodes over time.
7. Post-Dental Recovery: when receiving dental procedures like tooth extractions or root canals, you may develop temporary inflammation in the surrounding tissues, causing your lymph nodes to swell. This is not an issue in itself unless the swelling persists or is accompanied by other symptoms well past the expected recovery time.
Have Persistent Swelling? Get A Lymph Node Dentist Consult ASAP!
A lymph nodes dentist consult is a must if you have persistent swelling in your lymph nodes, and believe that dental issues are the cause. This is because infections from dental ailments can spread to other areas of the body, cause sepsis (a life-threatening infection), lead to complications such as bone loss and tooth loss, or may even create ongoing damage to the surrounding teeth and gums.
Book in with us here at Family, Implant, and Cosmetic Dentistry, and we’ll give you an accurate diagnosis of what’s going on, and provide you with a tailored treatment plan that combats the underlying dental ailment, and prevents future complications.
Let’s get your health back on track by scheduling a consultation today.