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 Medically Reviewed by Dr. Charles Dennis, DMD, on January 1, 2024

Tooth infections can be painful and uncomfortable; if left untreated, they can have serious consequences. Many people wonder how long it takes for a tooth infection to kill them. This blog post will answer some of the most common questions about tooth infections and their potential risks.

Q&A

What is a tooth infection?

A tooth infection, also known as a dental abscess, is a collection of pus that forms inside a tooth, in the gums, or in the bone that supports the tooth. Tooth infections are typically caused by bacteria that enter the tooth through a cavity or crack in the tooth.

What are the symptoms of a tooth infection?

The symptoms of tooth infection can vary depending on the severity of the infection, but common symptoms include the following:

  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • Swelling in the face, jaw, or neck
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Fever
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Swollen glands

How long can you survive a tooth infection?

The length of time that a person can survive a tooth infection depends on several factors, including the severity of the infection, the person’s overall health, and the presence of other medical conditions. In general, a tooth infection can become life-threatening if left untreated, but it is rare for this to happen.

How does a tooth infection affect your body?

If the infection spreads from the tooth to other parts of the body, such as the brain, heart, or lungs, it can cause life-threatening conditions like sepsis or brain abscesses. These complications can occur within a matter of days or weeks if the infection is left untreated. In rare cases, a tooth infection can also lead to Ludwig’s angina, a severe infection of the floor of the mouth and neck, which can cause breathing difficulties and potentially lead to death if not treated quickly.

Can a tooth infection kill you?

While it is rare for a tooth infection to kill a person, it is possible in extreme cases. If the infection spreads to other parts of the body, it can cause sepsis, which can be fatal if left untreated. It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have a tooth infection to prevent the infection from spreading.

tooth infection Q&A with Abington Center, an emergency dentist in NEPA.

How is a tooth infection treated?

Treatment for a tooth infection typically involves draining the pus and taking antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the infection. Sometimes, a root canal or tooth extraction may be necessary to remove the infected tooth. Pain relief medication may also be prescribed to help manage the pain associated with a tooth infection.

Can your body fight off a tooth infection?

A tooth infection is not something that should be taken lightly. While your body can try to fight off the infection to some extent, it will not be able to eliminate it without medical intervention completely.

If left untreated, the bacteria causing the infection can continue to spread and destroy surrounding tissue, leading to potentially serious complications. It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have a tooth infection, as it will not go away on its own.

While the pain may subside if the infection causes the pulp inside your tooth to die, the bacteria will continue to spread and potentially cause further damage. So, don’t ignore a toothache; seek professional dental care as soon as possible to prevent the infection from causing more harm.

How do I know if my tooth infection is life-threatening?

A tooth infection can become life-threatening if it spreads to other parts of the body and causes serious complications such as sepsis or brain abscesses. If you have a tooth infection, it is important to be aware of any symptoms that may indicate that the infection is spreading and potentially becoming life-threatening.

Some of the warning signs that your tooth infection may be life-threatening include:

  • High fever
  • Severe and persistent pain
  • Swelling in the face, jaw, or neck
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Confusion or disorientation

If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Delaying treatment can increase the risk of serious complications and potentially lead to a life-threatening situation.

It is important to note that even if you do not experience these symptoms, a tooth infection can still be serious and should be treated by a dental professional as soon as possible. If you are experiencing a toothache, swelling, or other symptoms, contact your dentist or medical professional for an evaluation and appropriate treatment.

How do I know if I have sepsis from a tooth infection?

Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s immune system responds to an infection by attacking its own tissues and organs. While it is rare for a tooth infection to cause sepsis, it can happen in severe cases. If you have a tooth infection and are concerned about sepsis, it is essential to know the symptoms.

Some of the signs and symptoms of sepsis from a tooth infection include:

  • High fever
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Extreme fatigue or weakness
  • Chills or shivering

If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Sepsis can progress quickly and become life-threatening if left untreated.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a tooth infection can be a serious condition that requires prompt treatment. While it is rare for a tooth infection to kill a person, it is vital to seek medical attention if you suspect you have a tooth infection to prevent the infection from spreading and potentially causing serious health complications. Consult your dentist or medical professional if you have concerns about a tooth infection.

Emergency Dentist in Scranton

Abington Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry is an emergency dentist near Scranton, in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. Dr. Charles Dennis and his team are available for urgent care dental appointments. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should contact our office as soon as possible:

  • Severe tooth or mouth pain
  • A loose permanent tooth
  • A cracked or broken tooth
  • Bleeding from your gums, cheeks, or tongue
  • Facial or mouth injuries
  • Swelling in your mouth, gums, or tongue
  • A laceration or tear on your lips
  • Knocked-out teeth

Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

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