Is Tooth Infection Dangerous?

Is Tooth Infection Dangerous?

An infected tooth, which can progress into a tooth abscess, causes symptoms such as oral pain, bad breath, sensitivity, and an unpleasant lingering taste in your mouth. Yet, the true danger of a tooth infection spans beyond these uncomfortable inconveniences. The infection could spread beyond the confines of your mouth or the tooth itself.

At the offices of endodontist Robert Scott Nance, DDS, MS, PA, located in Statesville and Hickory, North Carolina, Dr. Nance evaluates symptoms of a tooth infection and can help stop the spread with advanced care like abscess drainage, antibiotics, root canal therapy, and extractions when necessary. 

If you ignore the tooth pain and any other symptoms indicative of a possible tooth infection or abscess, the consequences could be more impactful than you might expect. Here’s how dangerous a tooth infection can become without a diagnostic assessment and personalized treatment:

The symptoms you shouldn’t ignore

In the earliest mild stages, you might experience a bit of oral discomfort as well as sensitivity to hot foods and beverages, cold foods and beverages, or sweets. Other people might seem to avoid standing near you due to your bad breath, and your bluntest friends might even make remarks about it. 

As the infection worsens, the symptoms tend to get worse too. Once a tooth infection becomes an abscess, the symptoms are impossible to ignore. If you got away with ignoring a little extra sensitivity or discomfort, you should report to a dentist immediately if you experience:

These are all signs that your tooth infection is in the process of spreading, which is when it becomes extremely dangerous without treatment. If you keep up with preventive examinations every six months, your dentist will likely catch a tooth infection long before this happens. 

Spreading to the body

Many people don’t realize that infections, no matter where they start, can spread in the bloodstream. Tooth infections are no exception. A tooth infection is potentially life-threatening if this happens. 

Once a tooth infection is on the move, you develop symptoms of general unwellness. These include:

In cases like these, it’s imperative to visit a dentist right away as you no longer have the time to spare. As the condition worsens, you can develop other illnesses depending on where the bacteria from the infection ends up. 

Serious possible complications

Short of death itself, the possible complications from a spreading tooth infection are nearly countless. The exact complications you get from a spreading tooth infection include such illnesses as sepsis, endocarditis (a heart infection), or even an abscess in the brain. 

If these examples sound severe, it’s because they are. A tooth infection is far more dangerous than it seems on the surface, which is why dentists emphasize the importance of routine and preventive care. 

What you can do

Avoiding tooth infections in the first place is the ideal way to prevent yourself from getting sick with serious infections throughout the body and the great costs, both physical and financial, that can come with them. You should take the time to learn proper brushing techniques, floss daily, limit sugar in your diet, and of course, visit Dr. Nance for regular exams. 

If you have any other questions or concerns about the dangers of a tooth infection, or if this post has reminded you to schedule your next cleaning, book an appointment over the phone or online at the office of Robert Scott Nance, DDS, MS, PA, today. 

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