Can a Tooth Infection Spread?

November 7th, 2021

Wondering if an infected tooth can also infect your body? Turns out, it can. Since teeth are a part of the body, the health of your teeth directly relate to your overall health. When your tooth becomes infected by bacteria, it can lead to the formation of a dental abscess characterized by the accumulation of pus. If the infection is located toward the end of the root it is termed a periapical abscess. If the infection is in the gums surrounding teeth it is known as a periodontal abscess.

Dental abscesses often occur due to poor oral health (ex: tooth decay, gum disease, etc.), and if left untreated can even be life-threatening. Abscesses can also be a result of trauma to teeth, or previous dental work. In addition, individuals who smoke tobacco, have dry mouth, or immunocompromised individuals are at a higher risk for developing a dental abscess. Fortunately, practicing good oral hygiene can help lower your risk of dental infections and other oral issues.

Common signs and symptoms of a dental abscess include:

  • A throbbing and painful toothache
  • Heat/cold sensitivity
  • Sensitivity and pain when chewing
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and jaw
  • Gum redness and swelling
  • Swelling in the face and neck
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Altered taste/odor of breath

Untreated abscesses can potentially spread to other parts of the body, which can trigger dangerous health problems. It can also lead to sepsis, which can cause tissue damage, organ failure, and severe long-term health problems

It is important to let your dental professional know right away if you believe that you have an abscess. If in need of immediate care due to severe symptoms like fever, or trouble breathing or swallowing, go to the emergency room. It is important to note that a dental abscess will not go away on its own, and treatment must be conducted in order to resolve the abscess.

Treatment may include antibiotics and draining the abscess. In addition, root canal treatment or extraction of the infected tooth may be necessary.

Prevention can go a long way to helping keep you healthy. Combatting tooth decay by practicing good oral habits can help you lower your risk of developing a tooth abscess. Be sure you are brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and flossing at least once a day. Keep up with your regular dental check-ups to ensure your pearly whites are healthy.

This pandemic has impacted us all, but our community is indeed all stronger together. Our team at WDG always has your safety and health as our top priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures and equipment to help prevent the transmission of all infections, including COVID-19. Wellesley Dental Group has completely reopened since June 8th, 2020 for all dental procedures and cleanings! Thank you for entrusting your health and dental care to us at Wellesley Dental Group.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Bahar Houshman and Dr. Marisa Reason is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Reisman would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.


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