An abscessed tooth is a bacterial infection causing the accumulation of pus that forms inside the teeth or gums. Symptoms of an abscessed tooth include pain and sensitivity, redness and swelling to the gums and jaw, fever, bitter taste or foul smell to breath, and open sore or bump on the side of the gums. An abscessed tooth can cause very serious consequences including tooth loss, jaw bone damage, sinus involvement, brain infection, heart complications and even death.
Swelling inside the jaw bone can cause inflammation of the bone. This can lead to bone death in the area of the swelling. If the bone surrounding the tooth dies, the tooth loses its support and become loose and fall out. There is risk of losing the adjacent teeth if the inflammation spreads to the surrounding bone.
The maxillary sinus often holds roots of the upper molars. If a tooth becomes abscessed, the sinus can become affected also as it is filled with pus. The brain is located closely to the tooth roots. Infection from tooth abscess can spread to the brain through the veins, a very serious condition called Septicemia or Sepsis.
If left untreated, a tooth abscess can also cause a condition known as Endocarditis. Endocarditis is the inflammation of the inner layer of the heart. Permanent heart damage can occur if the bacteria attach to the inside of the heart and grow. Also if the bacteria enter the lungs and cause pneumonia, another life threatening illness.
There are many serious conditions caused from the bacterial infection of abscess teeth. Serious heart, lung, and brain infections can lead to death if left untreated. Another risk of death caused by an abscessed tooth is the swelling of the floor of the mouth. The swelling under the jaw can block off your airway causing you to suffocate. This is a condition known as Ludwig’s Angina.
It is imperative to seek treatment at the earliest signs of infection. Treatment of a dental abscess depends on the extent of infection. The first step is to eliminate the infection. This may be done by root canal therapy where the abscess is drained through the tooth. Extraction of the tooth is another way to drain the infection. An incision into the swollen gum tissue is another way to drain the area. Antibiotics are prescribed to help fight the infection. Once the infection is clear, you can begin your restorative dental treatment and be on your way back to a healthy smile.
Don’t wait and put your life in danger. The treatment for an abscessed tooth is nothing compared to the potential outcome of neglecting to seek treatment out to fear. Contact South Tampa Smiles promptly if you are having any of the symptoms we have listed. We are here to help.