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How Long Until A Tooth Infection Kills You?

How Long Until A Tooth Infection Kills You?

Are you suffering from sensitivity in your tooth? Is your tooth painful and swollen from one of the sides? Is now fever also a symptom that occurs with bouts of severe toothache?

If you answered yes to any one or all of the above questions – you not only have a tooth infection, but it is also growing and getting much more dangerous for your oral and general health with the passage of time without having it treated.

Tooth infection is a very serious disease that requires treatment as soon as possible. If it is left untreated or taken lightly, it is capable of getting much more severe and spreading to other parts of your body, leading to a painful condition, deteriorating health, and even death in some cases.

In this blog you will learn everything you need to know about a tooth infection that will help you successfully deal with such conditions, and if not taken seriously “How long until a tooth infection kills you?”

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What Is A Tooth Infection?

A tooth infection, which is also known as a dental abscess can be explained as the formation of a collection of pus that is caused by a bacterial infection and is capable of developing inside the teeth, within the gums, or even in the bone that is responsible for keeping the teeth fixed in one place.

There are two major types of tooth infections, Periapical abscess, and Periodontal abscess. The abscess that is formed at the very end of the tooth is called a periapical abscess; while the formation of an abscess in the gums area is called a periodontal abscess.

Signs Of Tooth Infection

The discomfort and pain-inducing signs and symptoms of tooth infection are inclusive of:

  • Consistently severe and throbbing toothache, that eventually spreads all the way to your jawbone, neck, or even ear
  • Hot and cold temperatures cause pain or discomfort
  • Uncomfortable or painful sensations when chewing
  • Fever
  • Swelling on your face, cheek, or neck – causing hindrance for breathing and swallowing
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes under your jaw or in your neck
  • Constant bad breath
  • A sudden rush of foul-smelling and foul-tasting, salty fluid in your mouth and pain relief, if the abscess ruptures

What Are the Symptoms Of Tooth Infection Spreading To The Body?

If a tooth infection is taken lightly and treated carelessly, it is fully capable of spreading to the other parts of the body, such as:

  • Face
  • Jaw
  • Neck
  • Bloodstream
  • Brain

Symptoms that serve as a sign to indicate that the tooth infection has started to spread beyond just the tooth include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Skin redness 
  • Swelling in your neck or face
  • Pain when opening your mouth or touching your jaw or face
  • Sore throat
  • Change in your voice
  • Stiff neck
  • Changes in mood or vision
  • Confusion and extreme drowsiness
  • Severe pain
  • The overall feeling of being unwell

Can A Tooth Infection Make You Sick?

Tooth infections tend to cause severe discomfort and pain, but there are instances when it does not cause any pain, which also leads to late diagnosis of it – Regardless of the tooth infection symptoms it may or may not cause, a diagnosed tooth infection should be enough of a reason to see a dentist immediately.

The reason that it is so important to visit your dentist as soon as you can, is that tooth infections just do not go away on their own; not only that, but if they are left untreated, they can start spreading to other parts of the body as well, making you seriously sick with multiple tooth infections symptoms.

How Long Do Antibiotics Take To Reduce Tooth Infection Swelling?

While it may not be noticeable at first, antibiotics are immensely effective, start working your magic as soon as you start consuming them. It takes at least 2-3 days for you to feel somewhat better, and see an improvement in the tooth infection symptoms. On average, a full course of antibiotics requires a minimum of 7 to 14 days to get completed, based on the type being used.

Over-The-Counter Antibiotics For Tooth Infection

There aren’t many effective medications available for tooth infection over-the-counter, since the antibiotics for tooth infection require a healthcare provider’s prescriptions as a pre-requisite to attain the specific medications.

This is so because the FDA cautions against using leftover antibiotics from a previous illness or medicines prescribed for someone else. This is to help combat the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

However, there are some medications that might be able to help you with tooth infection symptoms to some extent, for instance, some people take over-the-counter pain relief medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

How To Get Rid Of Tooth Infection Without Antibiotics?

There are certain home remedies for tooth infection as well, that is quite effective when it comes to relieving pain, swelling, and discomfort that is caused by tooth infection symptoms. Things that you can try when suffering from tooth infection are:

  • Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water
  • Applying baking soda paste to the tooth
  • Rinsing with diluted hydrogen peroxide
  • Using cold compresses 
  • Taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medicines such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Using herbal treatments such as clove oil, vanilla extract, peppermint tea bags, or garlic paste on the tooth.

How Long Until A Tooth Infection Kills You?

A tooth infection can be initiated and take up to several months to develop completely, and once it has formed it causes severe pain, constant discomfort, and swelling right around the infected area.

If a fully developed tooth infection is left untreated, it wouldn’t take more than a few weeks or maybe months in some fortunate cases for the tooth infection to start spreading to the other parts and tissues of the body and lead to serious life-threatening complications – Once a tooth infection gets to such a point, death of the suffering person can occur real fast.

Factors like older age, having diabetes, or being immunocompromised can increase your risk of complications from a dental abscess.

How Is A Tooth Infection Treated?

Dentists go about treating the tooth infection by draining all the collected puss and getting the infected area rid of the abscess. They might also need to perform a root canal treatment in order to save your tooth if needed – However, in some cases, the tooth that was infected with the abscess needs to be removed completely.

This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 01/20/2023

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  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

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