Medically Reviewed By Dr. Redlinger

A dental abscess results when tooth decay spreads to the tooth root or a broken or cracked tooth that exposes the pulp. Accumulation of bacteria in this region causes an abscess that requires treatment since it cannot heal independently. With appropriate treatment, an abscessed tooth can heal and allow you to resume normal teeth functions. If untreated, an abscessed tooth can pose health complications, including dental cysts, heart disease, and Ludwig’s angina.

Dental Cysts And Gum Disease

If bacteria from an abscessed tooth spread to the gums, it will cause cysts at the base. These cysts are usually painful and can get infected. The bacteria from the abscessed tooth may also spread to the surrounding facial and jaw tissues and cause gum disease. Gum disease can make eating difficult and affect your overall health leading to other medical problems. If gum disease causes tooth loss, it will impact your smile, esteem, and confidence. However, with proper antibiotic prescriptions from our offices, you can control the spread of bacteria.


Bacteria from an abscessed tooth can find their way through the bloodstream. When this happens, the bacteria will invade and narrow the arteries. This narrowing affects the blood pressure and can result in a heart attack. If the bacteria settle in the heart valves, it can damage them and cause heart failure.


Ludwig’s angina is a fatal infection that affects the floor of the mouth. When bacteria from a tooth abscess spreads in the mouth, it causes swelling and pain in the tongue and neck. If untreated, it can become severe and obstruct breathing and swallowing. Ludwig’s angina is manageable with antibiotics. However, in extreme cases, where it advances to tracheostomy, a surgical procedure may be necessary to open the airway. Given the above dangers, you should care for your teeth by practicing good dental hygiene to prevent abscessed teeth. For more details and treatment, contact our office today.