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Complications that Come from a Dental Abscess

Posted on 3/20/2020 by Mark Bieber
Complications that Come from a Dental AbscessA dental abscess, or abscessed tooth, is characterized by a pocket or pockets of pus that can form in different parts of your teeth and gums due to a bacterial infection.

This condition causes moderate to severe tooth pain that can radiate into your head, neck or ears. With proper dental intervention, a dental abscess can be treated easily and safely in our office.

Symptoms of a Dental Abscess

In the early stages, a dental abscess will cause pain and tenderness in the area surrounding the tooth, sensitivity to overly hot or cold food and drink and an unpleasant taste in your mouth. As the condition advances, there is often a generalized unwell feeling, difficulty opening your mouth and swallowing, and even death.

Complications from a Dental Abscess

If neglected, a dental abscess can cause serious health complications, some of which are detailed below.

Maxillary Sinusitis

An infection of the sinus cavities behind your cheekbones, maxillary sinusitis can occur due to the spread of bacteria from a dental abscess. This condition is not serious, but can cause fever and tenderness across your cheeks.

Ludwig's Angina

A serious and potentially fatal condition, Ludwig's angina affects the floor of the mouth and can be caused by spreading bacteria from a dental abscess. Symptoms include pain and swelling under the tongue and around the neck. In the most serious cases, this condition can dangerously obstruct breathing.

Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis

A rare condition, cavernous sinus thrombosis can occur due to bacteria spreading from a dental abscess and is characterized by a blood clot forming in a large vein near the base of the brain. This condition can also be life-threatening.


Osteomyelitis infects the bones and occurs due to bacteria from a dental abscess traveling through the bloodstream. The condition is characterized by nausea, fever and severe bone pain, often near the abscess. As the infection spreads, however, osteomyelitis can affect any bone in the body.

Dental Cysts

An untreated dental abscess can develop a fluid-filled cavity in the bottom of a tooth root, known as a dental cyst. This condition can be treated with antibiotics, and cysts can be surgically removed using a local anesthetic.

A dental abscess should never be waited out. Potential complications are dangerous, even to the point of being life-threatening. Don't hesitate to contact our office immediately if you believe you may have a dental abscess.

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