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Can Ignoring a Toothache Be Fatal?

December 16, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — youramerican @ 1:55 am

Digital image of a toothacheMany people believe an occasional toothache is normal; however, it’s a sign of an untreated dental problem, like an infection. Although tooth pain may not seem too concerning initially, ignoring your discomfort can have serious consequences. Not only can you be at risk of losing your tooth, but there can be life-threatening complications. Here’s why you shouldn’t wait to see an emergency dentist if you have a toothache. 

What Causes Toothaches?

A toothache can be caused by many things, like a cavity, failing restoration, or a fracture. No matter the reason, the problem will not go away with no treatment. It will progress until an infection occurs deep within your tooth. It’s unlikely your discomfort will go away without seeing a dentist. If your pain suddenly subsides, it can be a sign your tooth has died and will need to be extracted.

Unfortunately, an incomplete smile it’s the only concern. The infection can spread to your surrounding teeth. It can also enter your bloodstream, wreaking havoc on your health as it circulates throughout your body. 

The infection will weaken your immune system, making it difficult for your body to fight it and increasing your risk of several serious health issues, like:

  • Sepsis: Sepsis is an extreme response to an infection, which can be deadly with no treatment. It can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.
  • Respiratory Issues: Bacteria from an infected tooth can travel to the lungs, making it harder to breathe and causing respiratory distress.
  • Meningitis: An infection or inflammation of the fluid and membranes that surround the spinal cord and brain can be deadly. 
  • Ludwig’s Angina: Infection from a tooth can spread to the throat and chest, causing swelling, difficulty breathing, trouble swallowing, and in worse cases, death by self-suffocation. 
  • Pregnancy Complications: Oral infection can cause preterm labor, low birth weights, and other adverse health issues for expectant mothers and unborn babies.

Don’t Wait to Contact a Dentist

Although you may not have time or money for an unplanned trip to your dentist, never ignore a toothache. Time is of the utmost importance. Your dentist will identify the source of your pain to provide appropriate treatment, like root canal therapy. 

The procedure removes the inner layer of your tooth to stop the infection in its tracks. You’ll save your tooth from needing to be removed and safeguard your wellness. If you develop any signs that the infection is spreading, like fever, headache, facial swelling, or fatigue, seek medical attention right away. 

Don’t risk your life or your smile for an infected tooth. Your emergency dentist can provide the quick care you need, so you can focus on more important matters. 

About Dr. Tommy Murph

Dr. Murph earned his dental degree at the Medical University of South Carolina and regularly completes continuing education for advanced services, like emergency dentistry, dental implants, and orthodontics. If you need a dentist in a hurry, request an appointment through our website, or call (843) 428-0231.

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