We often underestimate a minor scratch, but when it comes to toothache and root infections, we should never do the same.
If you are suffering from a throbbing toothache, you should never hesitate to see the dentist, especially if your gums are already swollen.
An untreated tooth root infection can spread throughout the body, causing more serious health problems and even costing your life. Our teeth and gums may be a small part of our body, but neglecting your oral health needs like any other organ will affect your overall health.
Learn more about the weight of an untreated root infection by checking the causes and how it spreads throughout the body.
What is tooth root infection?
A tooth root infection or periapical abscess is a build-up of pus on the roots of a tooth caused by a bacterial infection. It happens when bacteria reach the pulp of the tooth, where the connective tissues, blood vessels, and nerves are located.
Causes of tooth root infection that allows bacteria to reach the root of the tooth:
untreated tooth decay
Injury resulting in a broken tooth
While toothache can mean many things, it is one of the signs of a tooth infection along with other symptoms including:
Throbbing pain reaching the jaw, neck, or ear
Pain or tenderness when chewing or biting food
pain or tenderness when eating hot or cold food or drink
Difficulty breathing or swallowing
Bad odor and taste in your mouth
When patients ignore the above-mentioned symptoms, the bacteria will reach the blood vessels and pass through the bloodstream. The infection will spread throughout the body and cause life-threatening risk factors, especially in patients with underlying diseases.
Effects of spreading tooth root infection throughout your body
When disease-causing bacteria enter the bloodstream from your infected tooth, a variety of health conditions can occur. Our body reacts differently when attacked by bacteria and viruses. While some healthy individuals do not suffer from untreated dental infections, some patients may experience the following health problems:
The first target of bacteria near your infected tooth is the bones surrounding it, including your jawbone. Bone infection or osteomyelitis is inflammation of your bone marrow or bone due to bacterial infection passing through your bloodstream.
Severe cases of osteomyelitis are very painful and damage your bone structure. The worst case is when bacteria take over your body and become life-threatening. Treatment includes a course of antibiotics and antifungal medications that can last 4 to 6 weeks.
Infection of the blood vessels in your sinuses
Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis is an infection of the blood vessels in the sinuses that results in a blood clot at the base of the brain. It is a rare and life-threatening disease where infection from the eyes, nose, ears or teeth travels through the veins around your face and triggers further facial disorders.
It is extremely dangerous and should be treated immediately after 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 an infection of the inner layer of skin next to fat. Cellulite can occur on your face. For facial cellulite, you will have redness around your eyes, nose, and cheeks. It is painful and can lead to sepsis, a life-threatening condition.
Cellulitis occurs when the bacteria from your root infection travels through the veins in your skin and spreads the bacterial infection to the area. Mild cases of cellulitis in patients require oral antibiotics for up to 2 weeks, and severe cases may result in longer antibiotic treatments.
A parapharyngeal abscess is an infection in the deep part of your neck, near the hyoid bone or near the bone near the Adam’s apple. Swelling of the infected part can obstruct the airway and cause patients to have difficulty breathing.
Parapharyngeal abscess symptoms include sore throat, fever, and neck swelling. It is diagnosed with a CT scan and treated surgically to drain the abscess in the throat. If undetected, the abscess can drain into the carotid artery and become life-threatening.
Sepsis or blood infection
The most lethal effect of untreated root infection is sepsis. It happens when the bacterial infection spreads to your entire bloodstream and your immune system triggers a system-wide inflammation that can rupture your organs and clog arteries.
When your body doesn’t have enough blood flow, your blood pressure drops and your kidneys, lungs, and liver fail due to septic shock. Many of the medical conditions associated with the spread of bacteria in the blood can lead to sepsis. Therefore, tooth root infection dies.
Prevent the spread of root infection and schedule an appointment with your dentist
A painful, healthy-looking tooth can reveal a dental condition under the gums, such as a root infection. Save yourself from further health problems in the future by addressing your cavities and chipped or cracked tooth as soon as possible.