Untreated tooth infections can spread to other tissues in your body and cause potentially fatal consequences within weeks or months. While uncommon, it is possible to die from a tooth infection.
What Is a Dental Abscess?
A dental abscess is an infection-related pus accumulation in the gums or teeth. It requires immediate dental care. An abscess in the mouth won’t disappear on its own. You might be shocked to find that a tooth abscess is the body’s natural defense against infection, even though it can be painful. This is because the abscess keeps the infection from spreading to surrounding tissues by building a coating of pus. While there are many other places on the body where abscesses can develop, an abscess of the gum or tooth is among the more typical types.
However, in addition to its natural defense mechanisms, a dental abscess causes the additional risk to the teeth and gums by eroding the periodontium – the tooth structure made of gum (gingiva), periodontal ligament (PDL), or complex, compact alveolar bone – and inflicting irreparable damage. As a result, the afflicted tooth may need to be removed in some circumstances.
Forms of Teeth Abscesses
Dental abscesses are divided into several categories based on where they develop in the mouth. They consist of the following:
- Gingival Abscess: This gum abscess develops on the tissue’s surface. It resembles a small, noticeable pimple to the majority of people. An early-detected gingival dental abscess is simple to manage and recover from.
- Periodontal Tooth Abscess: This type of abscess develops deeper within the gum, primarily in the gum pockets. A periodontal tooth abscess can rapidly spread to the surrounding bone and tissue because the pus has nowhere to flow.
- Periapical Abscess: This condition can destroy a tooth’s protective enamel and softer inner dentin. As it reaches the dentin, it may target the fragile inner pulp containing the tooth’s nerves. At this point, there is a lot of pain. A root canal is the only way to treat this abscess and keep the tooth.
What Are the Signs of a Tooth Infection?
- Swelling around the mouth or jaw
- Sensitive lymph nodes
- Bad breath or an off taste in the mouth
- Throbbing pain that does not go away
- Pain in your jaw, neck, or ear
- Sensitivity when you apply pressure to the area
- Pain that worsens while you are lying down
By recognizing these symptoms, you can treat an illness before it spreads and gets worse. So, if you see any of the symptoms listed above, don’t wait to call your dentist.
Is it Common for Tooth Infection to Spread to the Rest of the Body?
The spread of dental infections to other regions of the body is uncommon. However, dental infections typically progress over weeks or months if left untreated. The following medical conditions can develop from untreated dental abscesses:
- Osteomyelitis: An infection of the bone surrounding an infected tooth
- Periapical abscess: An abscess at the tip of the tooth’s root
- Cellulitis: An infection of the skin and fat beneath the skin
- Sepsis: An infection of the blood, which can cause your immune system to overreact severely and result in a life-threatening illness
What Signs Indicate a Tooth Infection Has Spread to the Body?
The following symptoms act as indicators that the tooth infection has begun to extend beyond the tooth:
- Changes in mood or vision
- Changes in voice
- Stiff neck
- Changes in skin color
- Skin redness
- Swelling in your neck or face
- Pain when opening your mouth or touching your jaw or face
- Sore throat
- Change in voice
- Change in your voice
- Confusion and extreme drowsiness
- Severe pain
- The general feeling of being unwell
What Kinds of Therapy Are Available?
The severity of the infection will determine the treatment process. If an abscess is discovered, we will locate it and assess how widely the infection has progressed. If the abscess is inside the tooth, root canal therapy can be required to treat it. Our dentist may perform an apicoectomy to widen the gum area close to the root and remove the contaminated tissue if root canal treatment is insufficient. Additional treatments may include using antibiotics to treat and prevent the infection from spreading.
When to Call a Dentist
When a tooth infection first appears, a person should schedule an appointment with a dentist. The infection cannot spread further with early treatment.
A dental infection that has spread is a medical emergency. These infections have the potential to spread widely and go bad. Systemic infections can be fatal in rare situations. If you live in Richmond Hill, Ontario, contact us or book an appointment online at ORIS Dental Clinics to get help as soon as possible!