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An Abscessed Tooth: The Deadly Truth

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 2

Tooth

This is an article about an abscessed tooth. The deadly truth that you shouldn't ignore may save your life someday. I know some of you have had tooth pain before and have tried to ignore it as long as you possibly can before treating it. Any home remedies or quick fixes at the pharmacy will do as long as it just goes away. I have been guilty of this myself until I have a patient come into the ICU with descending necrotizing mediastinitis from an untreated abscessed tooth and within forty-eight hours this patient had died. This drastically changed my outlook on the extent of the importance of this medical emergency.

This is just one example of how deadly an abscessed tooth infection can become once it enters the bloodstream. Another scenario is in the case of a patient developing Ludwig's Angina. What causes this is severe swelling under the tongue, chin, and neck. This swelling can become so severe that the airway is blocked causing asphyxiation. If this occurs a tracheotomy can be performed to protect the airway.

Another complication of an abscessed tooth can be a brain abscess. Blood pressure in the brain tends to be lower and blood that drains from the brain goes into the cavernous sinus. The blood from the front of the face also drains into the vessels that drain from the cavernous sinus. When the blood pressure in the brain is low you can sometime create a backflow of blood that can mix with infection from an abscessed tooth that has entered the bloodstream usually from an affected front tooth . This can cause a blood clot known as a cavernous sinus thrombosis, and henceforth, a brain abscess can occur. Without antibiotics and left untreated, this condition can kill you.

Septicemia can result from an abscessed tooth. Bacteria gets into the bloodstream and is carried throughout the body wreaking havoc on all the organs. If severe enough it can result in a coma and organ failure leading to death. These are serious complications and I have seen them occur. Sometimes there are good prognosis if treated in time and sometimes there are disastrous repercussions.

Endocarditis and osteomyelitis are other complications that can arise from an infected tooth. Endocarditis is an infection and inflammation of the lining of the heart and valves. This can be a very serious complication. Osteomyelitis is an infection in the jaw bone usually the maxilla or the mandible. This condition can usually be treated with antibiotics, but if there is dead bone present then surgery will be need to remove the tissue.

Some other conditions though not as serious include sinusitis and tooth loss. Damage to neighboring teeth can occur as well. An abscess tooth is not meant to be taken lightly. Never underestimate the seriousness of an abscessed tooth. The deadly truth is if you do not receive the proper treatment for this problem it can literally kill you. If you suspect you have one you should make an appointment with your dentist. If you feel as though it has gone beyond that, the nearest emergency room should be able to take care of this problem.


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Comments

Aug 2, 2010 9:48pm
Sonni57
Good information on abscessed teeth I have never had one and hope not to.
Aug 4, 2010 11:15pm
pwarlick
I can promise you that it is no fun.
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