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How long until a tooth infection kills you?

Sep 28, 2023Oral health, oral surgery

How long until a tooth infection kills you?

The process of a tooth infection commences slowly and may require several months for complete development. However, once it takes hold, it can lead to unbearable pain and inflammation localized around the affected region.

Failure to treat a mature tooth infection could result in the infection spreading to other bodily tissues and causing severe, life-threatening complications within just a few weeks or, in select instances, a few months. Proper treatment is critical in mitigating these risks and preserving overall health. In instances where a tooth infection reaches an advanced stage, the affected individual may face a sudden and life-threatening consequence.

Individuals who are older, diagnosed with diabetes, or immunocompromised may experience heightened risks associated with dental abscesses and related complications.


What Is A Tooth Infection?

A dental abscess or tooth infection is characterized by the accumulation of pus inside the teeth, gums, or bone that holds the teeth in place. This condition is caused by a bacterial infection and requires immediate dental intervention to prevent further complications.

Within the realm of dental infections, two primary categories stand out: Periapical abscesses and Periodontal abscesses. A periapical abscess is formed at the tip of a tooth, whereas a periodontal abscess typically develops within the gum area.


Signs Of Tooth Infection

Tooth infection can cause a range of discomfort and pain-inducing signs and symptoms, which may include:

  • A persistent toothache that is intense and pulsating can gradually extend to your jaw, neck, or possibly even your ear.
  • Pain or discomfort may be experienced due to the extreme temperatures of hot and cold.
  • Experiencing discomfort or pain while chewing.
  • Fever
  • The occurrence of inflammation on the face, cheek or neck region can lead to difficulties in breathing and swallowing.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes, which are tender and inflamed, can be observed beneath your jaw or in the neck region.
  • Constant bad breath
  • The abrupt surge of foul-smelling and foul-tasting, saline liquid in the oral cavity coupled with relief from discomfort occurs when the abscess ruptures.


Symptoms Of Tooth Infection Spreading To The Body

Neglecting a dental abscess could lead to severe consequences as the infection has the potential to disseminate throughout the organism, affecting distinct bodily regions. These may include:

  • Face
  • Jaw
  • Neck
  • Bloodstream
  • Brain

Indications of the tooth infection spreading beyond its initial location are exhibited through various symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Skin redness
  • Swelling in your neck or face
  • Experience of discomfort when initiating movement of the jaw or making contact with facial structures
  • Confusion and extreme drowsiness
  • Severe pain
  • The overall feeling of being unwell
  • Sore throat
  • Change in your voice
  • Stiff neck
  • Changes in mood or vision


Treatment Options For Tooth Infection

The course of treatment for a dental infection is determined by the extent to which the infection has progressed. Here are some conventional options for treating a tooth infection:


In order to effectively treat a tooth infection that has spread or could potentially spread to other areas of the body, antibiotics are frequently utilized. The specific antibiotic prescribed will be determined by the particular strain of bacteria responsible for the infection.


In the event of an abscess, which is essentially a pocket of pus, the dentist may opt to drain it as a means of alleviating pressure and fostering the healing process.

Root Canal

In the event that a tooth’s soft tissue, known as the pulp, has been infected, a root canal treatment may be deemed necessary. This procedure involves extracting the infected pulp and thoroughly cleaning the inside of the tooth before sealing it for protection against further damage.


In the event that a tooth is found to have suffered severe damage or an infection that cannot be treated through a root canal, extracting the affected tooth may become a necessary course of action.

Pain Management

In order to alleviate the pain brought on by the infection, an individual may utilize a range of pain management techniques, which consist of both non-prescription and prescribed pain alleviating drugs.

Improved Dental Hygiene

The maintenance of good dental hygiene is crucial in avoiding recurring tooth infections. This involves consistent brushing and flossing alongside periodic dental appointments for professional checkups and cleanings.


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