How Can an Infected Tooth Affect Your Body?

A tooth infection might appear to be harmless, but it is a matter that should always be taken seriously. If left untreated, a toothache can result in dangerous health complications. For this reason, it is crucial that you visit your dental clinic in NE Calgary. Today, we will be taking a look at some of the life-threatening effects of a toothache.

What is a Tooth Infection?

An untreated dental cavity, a tooth injury, and prior dental work can result in an infection inside or under your tooth. The pulp is the most affected area of the tooth and is comprised of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues.

When a tooth infection occurs, bacteria has the potential to travel from the tooth to the surrounding tissues and bones. Bacterial infection causes a pocket of pus to form in the center of the tooth, this is called a tooth abscess.

Symptoms of an Infected Tooth

If you have a toothache, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms

  • A severe, persistent, or throbbing toothache
  • Tooth pain when biting, chewing, or eating
  • Tooth sensitivity to temperature change (hot and cold)
  • Tooth sensitivity to pressure
  • A bad taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Swollen neck glands or face
  • Swelling of the gums
  • Swelling of the jaw
  • Breathing or swallowing difficulties
  • Fever
  • A tooth infection can spread to other parts of your body including your jaw, neck, sinuses, and brain.

3 Surprising Effects of an Infected Tooth

1. Sepsis:

If the bacterial infection from an infected tooth spreads to the blood, it can cause a medical condition known as sepsis. Sepsis is a blood infection that can occur when the immune system is weak, for example, hospital patients are susceptible to sepsis. In addition, young children and seniors are also prone to sepsis.

  • Common symptoms of sepsis
  • Extremely high fever (101. 3 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Rapid heart rate (more than 90 beats per minute)
  • Respiratory difficulties (20 beats per minute)
  • Mottled skin
  • Mental confusion
  • If your blood pressure becomes too low, you may experience septic shock. Each year, millions of people die or become disabled from sepsis. The key to survival is early diagnosis and treatment.  If you have sepsis, your treatment may include, antibiotics, vasopressors, and surgery.

2. Meningitis

If you have a tooth abscess you could develop meningitis. This life-threatening condition occurs when the membranes near the spinal cord and the brain become inflamed. This bacterial infection could spread to the bloodstream and surround your brain and spinal cord. Meningitis could require extensive hospitalization. Adults with a compromised immune system and young children are at risk for meningitis. Meningitis is serious and can be fatal without immediate treatment.

  • Common symptoms of meningitis
  • Some of the early symptoms of meningitis can seem flu-like; these include:
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Cold hands and feet

3. Ludwig’s Angina

This bacterial infection occurs on the floor of your mouth and underneath your tongue after a tooth abscess. Ludwig’s Angina is more common in adults with a compromised immune system than in children. Poor oral hygiene, tooth trauma, lacerations in your mouth, and tooth extractions can also contribute to developing Ludwig’s Angina. To prevent Ludwig’s Angina, you should practice good oral hygiene and schedule regular dental checkups at your dental clinic in NE Calgary every 6 months. If you do have a tooth or mouth infection, you must visit your dentist for prompt treatment.

  • Common symptoms of Ludwig’s’ Angina
  • Pain or tenderness in the floor of your mouth (underneath your tongue)
  • Pain or tenderness in the floor of your mouth (underneath your tongue)
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Speaking difficulties
  • Drooling
  • Swelling of the neck
  • Redness of the neck
  • Neck pain
  • Ear pain
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue

Treatment for Ludwig’s Angina includes antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria. In more serious cases, you will require a breathing tube which will be inserted down your throat.

Practicing good oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings and exams can prevent tooth infections. Note, if you experience any symptoms of an infected tooth, contact your dental clinic in NE Calgary as soon as possible. Don’t wait for the bacteria to spread to your blood or other areas of your body.


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We continue to receive several emails and phone calls from our patients eagerly waiting to schedule appointments. We anticipate opening the office very soon for emergency and non urgent dental care very soon. I have been taking steps to ensure a high level of safety for our staff and patients once we are open.

We will limit the number of patients in our office at any one given time and make sure that social distancing between patients is followed as recommended by Dr. Hinshaw (Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer) and the Alberta Dental College.

Germs and viruses can spread easily so we want to make sure we are doing our part to protect our patients and staff through prevention measures. We will be having mandatory protocols in place for hand washing, sanitization of workspace and our staff wearing masks.

There will be limited staff available and we will make our best efforts to answer phones from 9am to 1:00 pm from Monday to Thursday to schedule emergency and non urgent dental care. If we do not answer your call please understand that we are assisting another patient or feel free to text me at 403-703-1914.

Please know that the safety of our patients and staff is our highest priority. We want you to feel comfortable the next time you visit our office knowing that we have taken the steps to protect everyone.