Danger of an Abscessed Tooth
People generally understand that dental problems have the potential to be painful and unpleasant.
However, we often don’t realize that there are a number of dental problems that can pose a serious
health risk. It’s important to remember that germs causing problems in the oral area can easily spread
to other parts of the body, which can result in dangerous complications. One of these potentially deadly
dental problems is an abscessed tooth.
What is an Abscessed Tooth?
An abscessed tooth is a painful infection that occurs near the root of a tooth. Usually the result of tooth
decay, an abscessed tooth occurs when the protective outer layer of the tooth (known as enamel) is
breached by bacteria. Once bacteria reach the center of the tooth (called the pulp), it can easily spread
down to the root of the tooth and the bones that support the tooth, which can result in an abscess.
How do I Know if I Have an Abscessed Tooth?
The invasion of a tooth’s root and bone structure by bacteria is usually very painful, so the first sign that
you might have an abscessed tooth is localized pain, especially while chewing or biting down. It is
important to know that if the infection
is left long enough, the bacteria can
eat away at the nerves as well. This
will cause the pain to stop, but means
that the infection has actually gotten
worse. Also, an abscess includes
swelling and redness, sometimes with
a visible sore on the abscessed area
below the tooth. If the infection has
spread, you can also experience a
fever and swollen neck glands. If you
have any of these symptoms, go to the
dentist as soon as possible.
Can an Abscessed Tooth be Dangerous?
An untreated tooth abscess will often lead to the loss of the tooth, along with damage to the dental
bone structure. However, bacteria are tenacious and will try to spread as much as they possibly can. If
the infection reaches the bloodstream, it can travel to other nearby areas like the sinus cavities and
even the brain. More than one case of abscessed teeth has resulted in death, due to complications in
the brain that were caused by an infection originating in the dental region. So if you think you might
have an abscessed tooth, make sure to seek professional opinion immediately.
Can I Prevent an Abscessed Tooth?
Abscessed teeth are almost always preventable. Simple habits, like making sure to brush and floss your
teeth will help keep your tooth enamel intact. Also make sure to see your dentist if you chip your tooth,
so that he or she can determine if your enamel is compromised.
A tooth abscess can happen to anybody, regardless of gender, age, or whether you live in Oklahoma or
California. Make sure your dentist is made aware of any potential tooth abscess you might have in order
to prevent any problems.