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Can Tooth Infection Spread To Brain

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How An Abscessed Tooth Can Damage Your Overall Health

Can the tooth infection spread into the brain ??

Is an abscessed tooth dangerous? Can an abscessed tooth cause sepsis? Canker sores? We hear a lot of these questions from folks who suspect they have an abscessed tooth, and want to know how important it is to get treatment sooner rather than later.

So is an abscessed tooth an emergency? Its not an immediate emergency in the way that a tooth fraction would be. But it is serious. If left untreated, an abscessed tooth can have a severely negative impact on your overall health.

What Can Happen If A Tooth Infection Is Left Untreated

Can a tooth infection be dangerous?

If a tooth infection is left to its own devices, without treatment it can lead to serious, sometimes dangerous infections. This is why oral hygiene is so important and why if you are having any symptoms of an infected tooth/abscess you should set up a dental exam with one of our offices, in the GTA or at our convenient downtown College Street dentistry office, immediately. In this post well discuss signs you may have a tooth infection and the serious consequences you may suffer if you dont seek timely treatment.

What are some signs of an infected tooth?

Signs of an infection in the mouth include:

  • Bad breath
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Fever
  • Sensitivity of the teeth to hot or cold
  • Swelling of the gum
  • Swollen glands of the neck
  • Swelling in the jaw

Can a tooth infection kill you?

With regular dental care, the answer is probably not, but if an abscess is left untreated it can and does happen. In fact, according to a Journal of Endodontics report, in a study of 61,439 hospitalizations that occurred because of tooth abscesses, 66 patients died as a result of their tooth infection.

According to the Mayo Clinic, in many cases, tooth abscesses are caused by untreated cavities. Its important to practice good oral hygiene and have regular dental check-ups so any issues are caught early before they can develop into something far more serious.

Can a tooth infection go septic?

How does an infected tooth lead to sepsis?

What are symptoms of sepsis?

Treatment For A Tooth Infection

There are many ways for your dentist to treat a tooth infection. The type of treatment depends on several factors, like to what extent the infection has spread, and the initial location of the abscess. Read further as we explain the possible different treatment for a tooth infection.

Root Canal Treatment: It may be necessary to receive a root canal treatment. This can help treat abscesses deep inside the tooth. The procedure requires the dentist to drill into the tooth and remove the pocket of pus and bacteria at the root of the tooth. Once finished, the dentist will fill the space with a material called gutta-percha. After the tooth is healed, the dentist can restore the tooth with a crown, or a filling to prevent an infection from happening again.

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Will A Tooth Infection Go Away On Its Own

A tooth infection will not go away on its own. Your toothache may stop if an infection causes the pulp inside your tooth to die. The pain stops because the nerve isnt functioning anymore, so you may not be able to feel it. However, the bacteria will continue to spread and destroy surrounding tissue. If you have tooth infection symptoms, see your dentist even if you no longer have pain.

How To Prevent And Treat An Abscessed Tooth

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Prevention is always the best medicine. You can generally avoid abscessed teeth entirely if you brush and floss daily, and visit a dentist regularly. It can also help to regularly use an antiseptic mouthwash. The goal is to ward off tooth decay, the primary cause of abscessed teeth. If the condition does appear, there are steps the patient can take to relieve the pain, but in order to remove the infection, it will always be necessary to visit a medical professional. The longer the condition is left untreated, the more difficult, protracted, and painful the treatment becomes.

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What Are The Symptoms If My Tooth Infection Has Spread To My Brain

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Can You Treat A Tooth Infection Without Antibiotics

There are ways to relieve the pain and swelling associated with your infected tooth. Saltwater rinses with or without baking soda, hydrogen peroxide rinses, and cold compresses can all help with these symptoms. See a dentist right away if you have any symptoms, because an infection is unlikely to go away without treatment.

A cavity can be filled, and pulpitis can also be treated with a dental procedure. You may not need antibiotics. But depending on how bad the infection is, you might need a root canal or removal of the tooth.

If you have an abscess, it needs to be drained. Your dentist will probably also prescribe antibiotics to get rid of any bacteria that are still in the area.

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Can A Tooth Infection Spread: When To Need A Doctor

The truth is, not all tooth infection needs a doctors appointment, your dentist can easily address your concerns if your infection or tooth decay gets diagnosed early. Of course, as we always say, prevention is better than cure. Having your regular dental appointment lets your dentist monitor your dental cavity and see any signs of developing risks become problems even happen.

However, if you have been dealing with a stubborn tooth infection and you suddenly feel the following symptoms, it would be best to consult a doctor immediately:

  • Severe swelling
  • Seizure
  • Vomiting

If any of these symptoms surface during your tooth infection battle, do not hesitate to get immediate medical help as this may signal severe and systemic issues.

Symptoms Of An Infected Tooth

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A tooth abscess is the accumulation of pus that and infected tissue that fills the tooth. Symptoms of an infected tooth include:

  • Gnawing or throbbing toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Sensitivity to pressure
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Swelling in the jaw
  • Fever

An infected tooth can result in the spread of infection to nearby parts of the body such as the jaw, neck, sinuses, and even the brain.

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Can A Tooth Infection Spread To Your Brain

Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.

Who Gets Tooth Infections

Youre more likely to develop tooth infections if you:

  • Smoke: Smokers are about twice as likely to get tooth infections as nonsmokers.
  • Have dry mouth: Bacteria thrive in a mouth with a low amount of saliva.
  • Have poor dental hygiene: Regularly brushing, flossing and getting dental cleanings reduces bacteria.
  • Have a weakened immune system: Diseases or medications can lower your immune response, making it harder to fight off germs.

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Types Of Tooth Infections & Causes

Tooth infections, or dental infections, can range from mild to severe . A cavity can become large enough that it eventually reaches the nerve of a tooth. This allows bacteria to accumulate deeper into the tooth. An infection will start developing over time as the bacteria reach the nerves.

A dental abscess is the most common type of tooth infection. Abscesses develop from a bacterial infection that usually begins in a tooths soft pulp. Plaque, which is a by-product of food particles and saliva, contains cavity-causing bacteria. This bacteria damage your teeth and gums over time, leading to cavity formation.

If a cavity is left untreated and becomes large enough, a dental abscess can form. Neglected oral care, plaque buildup, and diets high in sugar are the leading causes of tooth decay. To prevent tooth infections and cavities, you should:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Use fluoride toothpaste
  • Rinse with mouthwash before bed
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get professional teeth cleanings every six months

Dental damage can also allow bacteria to spread to deeper parts of the teeth or gums, resulting in an abscess. People with weakened immune systems, diabetes, and those taking certain medications , also have an increased risk of developing a tooth abscess.


A dental abscess is a common tooth infection that can be caused by plaque build-up, untreated cavities, and dental damage, among others.

What To Do If You Suspect You Have A Tooth Infection

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If you suspect you have a tooth infection, you should see a dentist right away for treatment. Dental infections dont usually go away on their own, and they can spread to other parts of the body. Left untreated, they can lead to life-threatening infections in the heart or brain. If you have a fever accompanied by swelling of the face or jaw, the situation could be dire, and you should go to the emergency room if you cant see your dentist right away.

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How To Prevent Endocarditis From The Dental Infections

Endocarditis can be prevented from dental infections by regularly brushing teeth along with flossing with regular visits to dental professionals for timely scaling to prevent any gum infection.

Periodontitis is found to be a risk factor for diabetes and coronary artery disease. It is estimated that about 30% deaths around the world is due to cardiovascular disease. Therefore, measures should be taken to prevent cardiovascular disease with a healthy lifestyle, exercising, weight control and cessation of smoking. It is also important to keep oral hygiene and measures should be taken to prevent and treat dental infections. Since they are most of the times asymptomatic, but very common, regular dental visit is necessary for early identification and treatment to avoid progression of infection and need for root canal treatment. If RCT is indicated then it should be done without any second thought as this might lead to probability of a heart disease.

Antibiotic treatment is recommended in patients who already have a history of endocarditis, since it makes them more susceptible for further endocarditis prosthetic valve or the use of prosthesis in the repair of cardiac valve congenital heart disease and/or cardiac transplant.

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What Health Problems Do Dental Abscesses Cause

Lets turn to a discussion to the different complications associated with these types of infections:

Spread of Infection: Any infection can spread if it isnt treated. If nothing is done to halt a dental infection, it can spread to nearby teeth, the jaw, neck, and the brain.

Sinus Irritation: Because of the close quarters between your teeth and sinuses, a tooth infection can trigger sinus irritation.

Ludwigs Angina: Infections and inflammation are partners in crime. Ludwigs Angina occurs when a skin infection spreads into the throat, causing swelling in the air passage, which can lead to trouble speaking, breathing, weakness, and swelling in the neck.

Meningitis: An inflammation of the membranes near the spinal cord and brain, meningitis can be triggered by not getting medical care for a tooth abscess before the infection spreads.

Jaw Infection: Just as a tooth infection can spread from the tooth to soft tissue in the mouth and throat, its also possible for the infectious bacteria to travel into the jawbone itself. In this case, swelling and tenderness are usually apparent.

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What’s The Evidence For Specific Management And Treatment Recommendations

Barakate, MS, Jensen, MJ, Hemli, JM, Graham, AR. ‘s angina: report of a case and review of management issues. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol.. vol. 110. 2001. pp. 453-6.

Chow, AW, Mandell, GL, Bennett, JE, Dolin, R. Infections of the oral cavity, neck and head. Principles and practice of infectious diseases. 2010. pp. 855-71.

Reynolds, SC, Chow, AW. Severe soft tissue infections of the head and neck: a primer for critical care physicians. Lung. vol. 187. 2009. pp. 271-9.

No sponsor or advertiser has participated in, approved or paid for the content provided by Decision Support in Medicine LLC. The Licensed Content is the property of and copyrighted by DSM.

What Is A Brain Abscess

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A brain abscess is a collection of pus enclosed in the brain tissue, caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. A brain abscess can develop as a complication of an infection, trauma or surgery. They are rare, although people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get a brain abscess.

This type of infection usually begins in one of these ways:

  • It spreads from a nearby site, such as a middle ear infection, sinus infection or dental abscess.
  • Blood carries the infection from further away in the body to the brain.
  • Infectious organisms enter the brain through a penetrating injury, such as a gunshot wound, or from neurosurgical procedures or facial trauma.

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How Is A Brain Abscess Diagnosed

Many of these symptoms closely resemble other diseases or health problems. Talk to your doctor immediately if you develop any of the symptoms. Youll likely need a neurological exam. This exam can reveal any increased pressure within the brain, which can occur from swelling. CT and MRI scans can also be used to diagnose a brain abscess.

In some cases, your doctor may need to perform a lumbar puncture, or spinal tap. This involves the removal of a small amount of cerebral spinal fluid to test for any problems other than an infection. A lumbar puncture will not be performed if any significant brain swelling is suspected, as it can temporarily worsen the pressure inside the head. This is to avoid the risk of brain hematoma, or a ruptured blood vessel in the brain.

When Is A Tooth Infection An Emergency

A dental abscess infection is always considered a dental emergency. Any visible gum swelling can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.

During emergency treatment for a dental abscess, the surgeon will open up the abscess and drain it. This will relieve pressure and reduce any pain associated with the infection. You will also receive prescription antibiotics to help clear the infection.

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How To Diagnose An Abscess

A dentist/doctor can identify an abscess easily. An x-ray will confirm if theres a pus-filled pocket near the

tooth root. If there is, the dentist may do one of three things make a small incision and drain the abscess,

perform a root canal or remove the tooth. If the infection has spread, the doctor will most likely prescribe

an antibiotic to treat it.

An important thing to remember is that an abscess will not go away on its own and will need to be treated

ER. The infection can spread as quickly as a day or two. If it begins to spread throughout your body, the

seriousness increases and it can even cause death. An abscess is nothing to ignore so act as soon as possible

if you have any suspicions that you have one.

Causes Of A Brain Abscess

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There are 3 main ways a brain abscess can develop. These are:

  • an infection in another part of the skull such as an ear infection, sinusitis or dental abscess, which can spread directly into the brain
  • an infection in another part of the body for example, the infection that causes pneumonia spreading into the brain via the blood
  • trauma, such as a severe head injury that cracks open the skull, allowing bacteria or fungi to enter the brain

However, in some cases, the source of the infection remains unknown.

Read more about the causes of a brain abscess.

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How Does Infection From Tooth Spread To Heart

Since dental problems are so common and nearly every individual has plaque around their teeth, which is loaded with bacteria. The plaque is not completely removed with proper brushing also and requires professional intervention. If the plaque is not removed then it might cause inflammation of the gums causing gingivitis and on advancing further leads to periodontitis causing bleeding from gums with even slight brushing or flossing. The bacteria from bleeding gums enter the bloodstream and infect the inner lining of the heart, thus causing endocarditis. Generally, immune system in healthy individuals is enough to eliminate this infection from bloodstream, but in cases with already compromised heart condition these bacteria lodge and multiply in the inner lining of the heart and present with symptoms of fever, fatigue, chills and night sweats, muscle/joint pain.

When To Get Medical Advice

Any symptoms that suggest a problem with the brain and nervous system should be treated as a medical emergency. These include:

  • slurred speech
  • muscle weakness or paralysis
  • seizures occurring in a person with no previous history of seizures

If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.

Any symptoms that suggest a worsening infection, such as a high temperature or being sick, should be reported to your GP immediately.

If your GP is not available, contact your local out-of-hours service or call NHS 111.

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How Can I Tell If My Tooth Infection Has Spread

Untreated infections in your mouth can travel to other areas, including your face, jaw, and neck, which can be life-threatening. Very rarely, infection can travel to your brain. If you have any of the following signs or symptoms along with your tooth pain, get medical help right away:

  • Fever

  • Skin redness or swelling in your neck or face

  • Pain with opening your mouth or touching your jaw or face

  • Sore throat

  • Changes in mood or vision

  • Confusion and extreme drowsiness

  • Severe pain and overall feeling of being unwell

Untreated tooth infections can also spread to your bloodstream. This can cause a life-threatening infection called sepsis or even travel to your heart.

If you have any symptoms that might indicate your tooth infection has spread, visit an emergency department immediately.

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