Life-Threatening Dangers Of Abscessed Teeth

An abscess is an infection that can present itself in many areas around the body. Your teeth are the most common places that abscesses can occur. An abscess in the tooth is an infection in the root between the tooth and the gums. It is extremely painful and can cause life-threatening complications if gone untreated. You need to know the symptoms of an abscessed tooth, along with treatment options and the possible complications.

Symptoms of an Abscessed Tooth

An abscess in your tooth can have many different symptoms depending on the severity of the infection. It often begins with having pain while chewing and sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. After going untreated, you can start experiencing bad breath and a strange taste in your mouth. It can lead to even more excruciating symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Swollen gums and jaw
  • Open, draining sores

Treating an Abscessed Tooth

You will need to see a dentist if you're experiencing any of these symptoms. Your dentist will look in your mouth and probe your gums with dental instruments to find the exact location of pain. If your dentist is worried about the infection being severe, he or she might take an x-ray to check for extensive damage. Most abscesses can be treated solely with antibiotics. The antibiotics will kill the infection and you will feel better within a couple of days. If your abscess is severe, you may have to get it drained by receiving a root canal. The root canal consists of having diseased root tissues removed, and then your tooth is restored with a crown.

Complications of an Untreated Abscessed Tooth

Like any bacterial infection or illness, an abscessed tooth will get worse the longer it is left untreated. The swelling in your jaw and the swollen glands in your neck will become larger and more painful. One major concern of abscesses is the risk of sepsis. As the infection spreads and the wound opens, it raises the chances of letting bacteria into the bloodstream. Once this happens, your blood becomes poisoned, which can lead to severe illness and even death if left untreated.

Sepsis begins with either a fever of more than 101 or a low body temperature of below 96.8 degrees. Your heart rate and your respiratory rate will begin to increase. Once you go into septic shock, it will lead to a serious change in your mental status, abnormal heart function, difficulty breathing, and severe pain.

Most people don't think of dental issues being life-threatening, but an abscessed tooth can be. Make sure you see a dentist as soon as you begin experiencing symptoms so you can get it treated and avoid all of these complications. For more information, try clicking here.