Can a Tooth Abscess Cause Infection in the Body?

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Can a Tooth Abscess Cause Infection in the Body?
Can a Tooth Abscess Cause Infection in the Body? (Image: DRosenbach:commons.wikimedia.org)

Tooth Infection

A tooth abscess is a painful dental condition that can become very dangerous. An infection in the pulp of your tooth can cause pockets of pus to form in the surrounding tissue, which is called a tooth abscess. If the infection is not controlled with antibiotics, severe complications can occur as the infection spreads and infects other organs. An untreated tooth infection can potentially result in death.

Infection Spreads

The skin surrounding the tooth contains many capillaries. These tiny blood vessels can carry the infection to the tissue of the face, jaw bone and the blood stream. The infection can also create a tunnel, called a fistula, between the jaw bone and the abscess. Untreated dental abscesses can lead to bone loss in the mandible.

Infection of the Blood

Bacteria from a tooth abscess can potentially enter the blood stream. This is a medical emergency called septicemia. When bacteria enters the blood, no organ is safe from infection, including the heart and the brain. Septicemia requires hospitalization and antibiotic treatment.

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