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Can infections from teeth spread to the body?



Junior member
Mar 12, 2018
Had an abscess over a year now. Probably closer to two. Cause me no bother at all and I have one of those little gum books next to the tooth so I know it’s draining. I am terrified of getting this tooth removed as I went to have it removed when it first abscessed. The dentist injected it about 12 times and it wouldn’t go numb. Iv only been back since once but about a different tooth. I am laying awake at night crying thinking this is going to kill me and leave my babies without a mum. But I still jus can’t bring myself to go to the dentist. So
I just wondering how often these things actually spread?

Is there time for me to find a new dentist and go from there. How often do people actually get sepsis etc from abscesses teeth?!
Hi Karli,
Whatever you decide to do, your babies are stuck with you for a long, long time. These chronic abscesses draining through the gum boil are pretty harmless in healthy people. Yes, if you ask Dr Google you will read tales of nasty brain abscesses, but the reality is that this is an extremely rare complication. I have never heard of a case in 30 years of practice.
It is not ideal to leave them, and if you can summon up the courage to get it dealt with you will feel better for it, but there is no urgency about it.
Now that the abscess is draining and no longer acute, the local anaesthetic will almost certainly be effective.
Hope you I have helped you get some sleep tonight.

Thank you.
I really needed to read this. I suffer terribly with anxiety and have been making myself ill over the past week. I have rang a few dental practices and going to register with a new one this week to hopefully have all my treatment done. I have horrendously had and weak teeth, I have had constant work on them since I was three years old and have always been fine at the dentist, until this bloody dentist tried to pull it while I felt it and I've just developed a horrible anxiety over it since then.

Currently have 4 teeth that need extracting or root canal on two. Iv had braces (that had to come off because my teeth were too weak) teeth out, root canals, crowns etc. Let's hope I can get this dealt with before I loose all my teeth :( I'm only 29.

Thank you once again for taking the time to reply.
I have an impacted lower wisdom tooth and my appointment for removal is not yet. I’m terrified that in the meantime, it’ll get infected and it’ll spread and I’ll die within a matter of days. There are lots of stories online of people who have. I’ve been rinsing with salt water and the little pain I have is easily numbed with Ibuprofen. What are the chances of this happening?
I've written this on here about a million times it feels like :)

Dental infections are caused by oral bacteria, which are delicate wee beasties and don't do well outside their natural habitat. They can get established in dental infections because of a fairly unique set of circumstances which don't occur elsewhere in the body.

Assuming you have a functional immune system, i.e. you don't have AIDS, Leukaemia or are massively under nourished then your body can absolutely annihilate the bacteria from oral infections very easily.
Thank you for replying Gordon - I just can’t get rid of the nagging thought that no matter how much I keep that area clean, sugar etc will get stuck and it’ll spread without showing obvious symptoms. There’s always that small chance as shown by news reports of victims. My removal date is months away (I’m in the UK) so hopefully all will be stable until then :(
Please give a link to any news story of anyone in the West dying from a tooth infection. I have never ever seen a case where the patient concerned wasn't already very ill.
Hi all, I went to a dentist a few days ago and she informed me that I have a cavity on my upper wisdom tooth. So I have been referred for removal (along with my impacted lower wisdom tooth but that's a different story!).

My fear is that as it has a cavity, can it cause sepsis when it is removed? I do not have any infections I think. I'm worried that when the cavity filled upper wisdom tooth is removed, sepsis will develop from the open wound?

I just read a news report on how a girl in the UK experienced this and I am terrified.
No it won't. Reference to the news report? Sounds like absolute cobblers to me...
No it won't. Reference to the news report? Sounds like absolute cobblers to me...

'It's believed the sepsis was contracted because the tooth was so infected when they took it out, so when it caused an open wound the infection went straight into my bloodstream

I'm terrified a) my cavity in wisdom tooth will have the same outcome and b) both my wisdom teeth have an infection I'm not aware of yet until the operation
That's hysterical reporting to put it mildly. The infection/sepsis had nothing to do with the wisdom tooth, it was a severe post op infection, which can happen but is incredibly rare. Basically some very nasty bacteria got into the extraction socket, which is why following post-extraction guidelines is a good idea.
I’m panicking because I need a root canal. My tooth is dead and he said the pulp is infected. I’m panicking that the infection is spreading in my body (my dentist said this is very very rare and I don’t have an infection spreading .. but how does he really know) I’m also wondering if the tooth is dead can I skip the local anesthetic because that also panics me
Infections from teeth do NOT spread to the body. We have to repeat this every week I think. Maybe time for a sticky post.
Oral bacteria which cause tooth issues are very fragile and don't last long in the bloodstream, assuming the patient has a functional immune system of course.
When I was a lad, we did all root canals without local, it can be done, but these days I'd rather put local in just to be absolutely certain that it's not going to hurt the patient.
I had a second root canal on a tooth around two weeks ago (First one was a long time ago) I haven’t had any pain. Before the root canal, I had a blister that burst a few days before the root canal was performed. After that it just stayed a small little lump a bit above the tooth.

It’s still here and I wasn’t worrying about it until my brother mentioned someone ending up in hospital because of an infection - he didn’t explain til afterwards that it wasn’t actually a tooth infection but something to do with his leg.

Is this anything to be really worried about? i’m just a bit freaked out and looking for some support, I guess
Not again :)

No it's nothing to worry about. The bacteria involved in tooth infections are fragile wee beasties and don't do well out in the rest of your body, they get totally minced by your immune system in no time.

The small lump will disappear in a wee while when the tooth all settles down.