Can Tooth Decay be Life Threatening?

St. Petersburg Dentist

One of the most common medical conditions in the world that frequently leads to life threatening conditions without treatment is tooth decay. Preventing dental cavities is the best way to avoid additional health problems. Bacteria will destroy enamel to enter the inner structures of teeth, including the pulp and dentin leading to serious infections. When an individual visits a dentist often, it is easy to remove dangerous infection while filling the cavity with a metallic or porcelain filling. However, patients practicing poor oral hygiene habits, including avoiding professional dental care can develop massive infection in gum tissue and roots.

Dangerous Ludwig’s Angina

Bacteria from untreated dental caries can infect other areas of the body causing cellulitis and sinus conditions that are life threatening. Occasionally, very resilient bacteria enter the facial tissue near the mouth causing intense swelling of the upper neck and lower jaw. Without immediate intervention, the swollen tissue can constrict an individual’s airway. Symptoms of Ludwig’s angina include difficulty swallowing, high fever and fatigue. The tissue inside a patient’s mouth can swell until it covers the airway making it impossible to breathe. Emergency medical attention is necessary to help an individual breathe properly to prevent suffocation.

Life Threatening Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis

An additional acute condition caused by tooth decay is blood clots that develop in the cavernous sinus from infection. The bacteria in dental caries can invade nearby areas of the face such as the ears, sinuses and nose. The cavernous sinus is located beneath the brain where it assists with circulating blood to the heart. Deadly bacteria from decayed teeth can cause virulent symptoms such as nerve paralysis, throbbing headaches and bulging eyes as a blood clot forms. A patient may experience blurred vision from tissue swelling and bleeding capillaries in the conjunctiva. Laboratory and medical imaging tests assist with a diagnosis of cavernous sinus thrombosis. Patients require antibiotic treatment to avoid complications of life threatening strokes, meningitis or brain abscess.

Professional Dental Care

Individuals living in or near St. Petersburg, FL can receive professional care for teeth and gums to avoid life threatening medical conditions. Daxon Dentistry of St. Petersburg, Fla., offers state-of-the-art services to remove decay from patient’s teeth. Dentists recommend visiting a dentist at least twice a year to repair small cavities while having a professional tooth cleaning procedure to remove plaque.