Here’s What Could Happen if You Ignore an Infected Tooth

An infected tooth requires medical attention. For one, the pain associated with an abscessed tooth can be unbearable. For another, it could develop into something more serious. Unfortunately, some people choose to ignore the pain and hope that the problem would go away on its own.

Let this article be a warning for people who delay dental treatments. Below are possible outcomes if you do not treat an infected tooth promptly.

Tooth Loss

Prompt treatment of abscessed teeth can save them from inevitable extraction. Ignoring signs of infection (e.g., sharp and persistent pain that reaches the neck and shoulders, soreness and redness of the gums, swelling cheeks) and forgoing treatment can weaken the infected teeth. As the infection spreads, it can also affect adjacent teeth that would have been otherwise healthy. The result could be multiple tooth loss, an irreversible condition that could only be remedied with artificial teeth implants.

In Colorado, patients have no reason to delay getting dental treatment. They can find a clinic offering quality dental care and treatments for abscessed teeth in Littleton, Lone Tree, and nearby towns.

Brain Infection

In 2017, a 12-year-old boy died after bacteria from an infected tooth reached his brain. Brain abscess (literally, pus in the brain) forms when viruses, fungi, and bacteria from somewhere else in the body spreads upwards toward the brain. Although heart and lung infections are among their most common causes, an abscessed tooth can also become one. People born with immunodeficiency or developed immune system disorders later in life are more vulnerable to brain infection.

Heart Infection

heart pain

Complications associated with abscessed teeth also affect other organs, one of them being the heart. The condition known as endocarditis occurs when bacteria from the infected tooth enter the bloodstream and produce pockets of bacteria in the valves and inner linings of the heart.


Bacteria from an infected tooth may spread to the bloodstream and cause sepsis, a fatal blood infection that kills and disables millions each year. It causes high fever, rapid heart rate, and respiratory problems. Mental confusion and mottling of the skin may occur as the illness progresses. Septic shock may happen if the blood pressure becomes too low.

Infection Of Surrounding Bones

Bones are also susceptible to infection. As the jawbone anchors the teeth, it also becomes vulnerable to bacterial infection. A major side effect is a weakening bone structure. The affected bone tissue could deteriorate and fail its purpose of supporting the teeth. It could become difficult — even painful — to speak, eat, and make facial movements where the jaw has to move. In extreme cases, patients may need to undergo surgery to remove parts of the jawbone to prevent the further spread of infection.

Ludwig’s Angina

Ludwig’s angina is a rare condition that affects the tissue under the tongue. It often occurs after a mouth injury or tooth infection. Symptoms include redness and swelling of the neck and tongue, excessive drooling, and difficulty in swallowing, talking, and breathing. As this bacterial infection progresses, affected individuals may experience chest pain and breathing problems. It may even lead to deadly complications, such as sepsis and a blocked airway.

What begins as a common tooth ailment could escalate to more serious problems if patients refuse prompt treatment. Ludwig’s angina, sepsis, heart infection, and brain abscess — are all deadly conditions that people can easily avoid if they practice good dental hygiene, make regular dental appointments, and seek treatment for teeth and mouth infections before it’s too late.

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