Dental abscess and overall health

A periapical abscess can be caused by a deep cavity, injury or cracked tooth. Bacteria can get into the pulp (the nerve) and canals, reaching the root’s apex. There, they multiply and form an abscess. If left untreated, this can cause serious repercussions: the infection can spread through your blood vessels to other parts of your body.

Symptoms of an abscess include pain during chewing, an impression that the tooth is “higher” than the others, fever, swelling and fatigue. A dental abscess can also be asymptomatic and painless, in which case only an X-ray would detect it—one more reason why X-rays are important during your check-up.

A dental abscess won’t heal on its own. The affected tooth needs to be treated or extracted.

Possible complications:

  • Loss of the affected tooth
  • Periodontium infection
  • Sinus infection
  • Lung infection
  • Bacterial endocarditis
  • Septicemia (infection throughout the body) in immunocompromised patients
  • Brain abscess (rarely)