We often underestimate a small scratch, but we should never do the same when it comes to toothache and tooth root infections. If you’re experiencing a throbbing toothache, you should never hesitate to see a dentist, especially if your gums are already swelling.
An untreated tooth root infection can spread the infection throughout the body and lead to more serious health problems and even cost you your life. Our teeth and gums may be a small part of our body but, like other parts, neglecting your oral health needs impacts your overall health.
Learn more about the gravity of an untreated tooth root infection by checking out the causes and how it spread throughout the body.
What is a tooth root infection?
Tooth root infection or periapical abscess is an accumulation of pus at the roots of the tooth caused by a bacterial infection. It happens when the bacteria reach the tooth pulp where the connective tissues, blood vessels, and nerves are located.
Causes of tooth root infection that allows the bacteria to reach the tooth root:
- Untreated tooth decay
- Injury resulting in a cracked tooth
- Chipped tooth
While a toothache can mean a lot of things, it’s one of the symptoms of tooth infection along with other signs that include:
- Throbbing pain reaching the jaw, neck, or ear
- Pain or sensitivity when chewing or biting food
- Pain or sensitivity when eating hot and cold food or beverages
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Foul smell and taste in your mouth
When patients disregard the symptoms mentioned above, the bacteria will reach the blood vessels and run through the bloodstream. The infection will spread throughout the body and cause life-threatening risk factors, especially for patients with underlying conditions.
Effects of the spread of tooth root infection to your body
Once the disease-causing bacteria from your infected tooth enters the bloodstream, various health conditions may arise. Our body reacts differently when it’s attacked by bacteria and viruses. While some healthy individuals may go unharmed with untreated tooth infections, other patients may suffer from the following health conditions:
The first target of bacteria close to your infected tooth is the bones surrounding it, including your jaw bone. Bone infection or osteomyelitis is the inflammation of your bone marrow or bone due to the bacterial infection that ran through your bloodstream.
Severe cases of osteomyelitis are too painful and damage your bone structure. The worst case is if the bacteria win over your body and becomes life-threatening. The treatment involves a series of antibiotics and antifungal medications that can last from 4 to 6 weeks.
Infection of the blood vessels in your sinuses
Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis is the infection of the blood vessels in the sinuses resulting in a blood clot at the base of the brain. It is a rare and life-threatening disorder where the infection from the eyes, nose, ears, or teeth runs through the veins around your face and triggers more facial disorders.
It’s highly dangerous and should be treated immediately upon diagnosis. The best way to treat this disorder is to identify the source of infection through a series of tests and drain the disease-causing bacteria.
Skin and fat infection or cellulitis
Cellulitis is the infection of the inner layer of the skin next to fat. Cellulitis can occur in your face, breast, or anus. For facial cellulitis, there will be redness around your eyes, nose, and cheeks. It’s painful and can lead to sepsis, which is a life-threatening condition.
Cellulitis happens when the bacteria from your tooth root infection runs through the veins on your skin and spreads bacterial infection in the area. Mild cases of cellulitis in patients will take up to 2 weeks of oral antibiotics, and severe cases may end up with longer antibiotic treatments.
Parapharyngeal abscess is the infection found at the deep part of your neck near the hyoid bone or the bone near your adam’s apple. Swelling of the infected part can block the airway and cause patients to have difficulty breathing.
Signs of Parapharyngeal abscess include sore throat, fever, and swelling of the neck. It is diagnosed through a CT scan and treated surgically to drain the abscess in the throat. If left undetected, the abscess can flow down to the carotid artery and becomes more life-threatening.
Sepsis or blood infection
The most lethal effect of untreated tooth root infection is sepsis. It happens when the bacterial infection has spread through your entire bloodstream, and your immune system triggers a system-wide inflammation that can rupture your organs and block arteries.
When there is not enough blood flow in your body, your blood pressure will drop, and your kidneys, lungs, and liver will fail due to septic shock. Most of the medical conditions related to the spread of bacteria in the blood can lead to sepsis. Therefore, tooth root infection is a deadly condition and should never be taken lightly.
Prevent the spread of the tooth root infection and schedule an appointment now
A painful healthy-looking tooth may reveal a dental condition beneath the gums like tooth root infection. Save yourself from more health problems down the road by addressing your tooth decay and chipped or cracked tooth as soon as possible. Fine Arts Dentistry is a top-rated dentist in Matthews that offers comprehensive restoration services that include:
Schedule an appointment now and take care of your oral health now before it’s too late. You will always have a choice. It’s either you visit a dentist now or consult a doctor later with more serious medical conditions.