Can you die from a tooth abscess?


First of all, what is a tooth abscess? Tooth abscess is a dental condition where pus can be stored inside a tooth or gum or the bones in our mouth.

Tooth abscesses can be different types and in different regions of our mouth. It is mainly caused by some kind of bacterial infection. And this bacterial infection can occur from various reasons such as an untreated cavity or a dental injury.

Now, a question may come, can you die from a tooth abscess? The answer is no, not necessarily. When the bacteria and the pus becomes accumulated, it can be life threatening. For that reason, taking care of your dental health is paramount.

Let’s know more through this article.

How do you know if you have a tooth abscess?

There will be a variety of symptoms depending on the seriousness of the abscess. Also, the infected region where the abscess is, plays a big role contributing to the symptoms.

The signs you have to be aware of are the following –

  • Excruciating pain in the teeth or the gums.
  • Pus accumulation inside a tooth and swollen gums.
  • Sometimes a sign of redness on your face.
  • Tooth that has lost its natural color.
  • Or a tooth that has become loose or fragile.
  • Sudden pain in your mouth or tooth.
  • Severe sensitivity to biting and cold or hot foods.

How long can a tooth abscess go untreated?

Tooth abscesses are generally divided into two major types, 1) Periapical, an infection under the tooth, and 2) Periodontal, an infection in the gums or the bones under your tooth.

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And depending on the kind of pain you are feeling, abscess can be acute or chronic. Acute abscess is when you feel a sudden and unbearable pain. But in chronic abscess, the pain keeps coming for a long time, but it can be bearable.

Now, if you have a chronic tooth abscess, it really can be a dangerous threat to your health. And there is no given time that a tooth abscess can go untreated.

If you feel some of the symptoms, you should hurry to your dentist. Because if it goes untreated for a long time, your tooth will be dead. It can spread to the other parts of your body if left untreated.

How many people have died from tooth abscess?

Between 2000 and 2008, there were 61,000 cases of hospitalization due to dental abscesses in the USA. And 66 of them died with or without getting any treatment.

In 2007, a 12 year boy from Deamonte faced death due to dental abscess spreading to the brain. His family spent $250,000 for his surgery and hospital fees. In 2011, a young father named Kyle Willis died from untreated tooth abscess when it spread to his brain.

Lately, with the advancement of medical technology, the death rate from tooth abscess is very rare. But if you ignore the signs of this kind of infection, you will put your life in danger.

What are the symptoms of a tooth abscess spreading?

If your tooth abscess is left without proper treatment for a long time, you will be facing a myriad of health problems. For example, Osteomyelitis, Cellulitis, or Sepsis can result from a tooth abscess.

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So, noticing the symptoms that a tooth abscess is spreading, is very crucial. If the abscess ruptures in your mouth, it can be the ultimate signal that it started spreading.

But it is also possible that it has already started spreading throughout the body without even rupturing. Here are the early symptoms that can help you notice the spreading.

  • Fever – As fever is one of our body’s defense systems against infection, it can be a sign that the infection has spread. A constant body temperature above 100 degree Fahrenheit and sometimes below 96 degree is one of the symptoms.
  • Feeling Sick – It is one of the early symptoms. You will feel lethargic, dizzy or even an ear pain. Sometimes the agonizing tooth pain can travel to the head causing constant headaches.
  • Dehydration – If you feel thirsty more often and have to urinate less often, then it is a sign that the infection has spread to the body.
  • Swelling and Redness – You will notice a swelling of your mouth or neck. Sometimes it can be associated with a rash or redness. It can become hard to swallow or breathe.
  • Stomach Pain – Suffering from a stomach pain more often is also a sign that your tooth abscess has spread. Nausea, vomiting or even diarrhea can occur.
  • Escalated Rate of Breathing or Heartbeat – Your heart doesn’t stop thumping, and you feel out of air.

How long does a tooth abscess last?

Tooth abscess is not a condition that can go away without being treated. It can start spreading to your other organs after two or three weeks without treatment.

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However, if you start treatment and follow the standard procedures suggested by a dentist, it can heal in a week. Sometimes it takes more time depending on the gravity of infection.

What to do for tooth abscess?

If you notice that you have a tooth abscess, you should start treating that right away. There are various ways you can take care of that. Baking soda, paste of garlic or cold compress can give you relief from the pain and reduce the infection.

And if you want to know more about this, you can read “How to get rid of a tooth abscess without going to the dentist?


Many of us think that dental conditions are not a big problem. And thus we ignore the lingering tooth pains, sometimes which can even lead to death.

Tooth abscesses are caused by bacteria and can spread to the brain along with other organs. Therefore, you should never ignore your dental health to live a healthy life.