The Dangers of an Untreated Dental Abscess

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Too many people underestimate the seriousness of an untreated abscess in the mouth. An abscess refers to a pocket of pus that develops from a bacterial infection in the mouth. This can be a painful infection within the nerves of a tooth, or one that has developed within the gums around a tooth. In nearly all cases, dental abscesses cause intense pain and swelling and they are considered a dental emergency. If not treated in a timely manner, the consequences are dire. Not only can this infection cause tooth loss, it can travel to surrounding lymph nodes, the heart and even the brain. In rare cases, a neglected tooth abscess can be deadly.

Threats of a Dental Abscess

An abscess can originate from an infection within the gums (severe gum disease) or from an untreated cavity. Regardless of how the abscess formed, it needs to be treated in order to prevent the following dangers to your smile and your overall health:

Tooth Loss: If the infection spreads to the gums and the underlying bone that hold your teeth in place, the result can be tooth loss. The infection will eventually damage these supporting structures and cause tooth instability. In other cases, when the infection was from a cavity and the area of decay spreads, the tooth may need to be extracted.

Sinus Infection: It is not uncommon for an untreated tooth abscess to cause an infection within the sinuses, located directly above the upper jaw. In such cases, the sinuses may fill with the pus and drainage that is coming from the infected upper molar.

Brain Abscess: Your teeth are in close proximity to the brain. Therefore, if you neglect an abscess in the mouth, the infection can travel to the brain through blood vessels and become a serious threat. This may cause a coma and require surgical intervention to treat. Bacterial infections such as meningitis also become a serious risk.

Heart Infection: Bacterial endocarditis is also a concern if the infection travels to the heart. Again, this would require immediate medical intervention.

Ludwig Angina: An untreated tooth abscess is a common reason why patients develop Ludwig Angina, which is a serious infection that compromises parts of the face and lower jaw. This condition can progress enough to block the airways and cause death.

Symptoms to Watch Out For

It is clear that delaying or avoiding treatment for a dental abscess is dangerous. Therefore, it is imperative that you are able to detect the warning signs of an abscess so that you can get prompt treatment. Most tooth abscesses are successfully treated by draining the pocket of pus and performing a root canal if needed. This is a single dental treatment that can save your tooth and protect your overall health.

If you or your child has symptoms such as tooth sensitivity, a severe toothache, pain when chewing, fever, or facial swelling, call Basin Dentistry as soon as possible. We proudly offer emergency dentistry in Midland and Andrews, TX.

Posted on behalf of Basin Dentistry