Abscessed Tooth Complications and Dangers

An abscessed tooth is an infected tooth. When you have tooth decay or gum disease, you can get infection deep within the tooth or gum. This infection is an abscessed tooth and can be very painful.

Alternative names of tooth abscess are periapical abscess, dental abscess, tooth infection, abscess – tooth.

Tooth Abscess Causes

The dental pulp, the only part of the tooth that’s sensitive to pain, is often well protected. The outer layers of the tooth – enamel, and dentin, the main part of the tooth – surround the fleshy, nerve-filled center. But if a tooth cracks or develops a deep cavity, the pulp can be exposed.

Before long, bacteria will invade the center of the tooth and the pulp will start to die. As the tooth infection progresses, pockets of pus will form at the root of the tooth. This is called tooth abscess.

Sometimes a tooth abscess is excruciatingly painful and/or swollen, and at other times a patient will not even know it exists until he or she has a routine exam and/or x-ray.

Tooth Abscess Symptoms

  • Toothache, dental pain
  • Pain when chewing
  • Sensitivity of the teeth to hot or cold
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath, breath odor
  • Possible fever
  • Swollen glands of the neck
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling
  • Swollen area of the upper or lower jaw – a very serious symptom

Tooth Abscess Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis can and does occur and is reasonably common with error rates ranging from 1.4% in cancer biopsies to a high 20-40% misdiagnosis rate in emergency or ICU care. Surveys of patients also indicate the chance of experiencing a misdiagnosis to range from 8% to 40%. This makes misdiagnosis one of the most common types of medical mistakes.

With a tooth abscess diagnosis, it is important to consider whether there is an underlying condition causing tooth abscess. These are other medical conditions that may possibly cause tooth abscess. Other conditions that might have Tooth abscess as a complication might be potential underlying conditions.

Tooth abscess misdiagnosis need not be a feared outcome. There are various ways to prevent tooth abscess misdiagnosis such as seeking a second opinion or a dental specialist referral. Getting educated about the possible alternative or underlying diagnoses for a condition is useful information to discuss with your dentist.

If you think you have a tooth abscess and want immediate relief, we recommend you go to www.tooth-abscess-relief.com for a quick and natural treatment plan.  

Read NEXT about abscessed tooth complications and dangers.

  • Charley

    It’s really horrible to die from abscessed tooth… is there any statistic about this?

  • randy cummings

    I have a swollen, infected tooth as of last night. It is pretty big, am using warm salt water. How long does it take for infection to disappear? thank you Randy

  • http://worldental.org WorlDental.org

    Randy, beware of tooth infection complication, rinsing with salt water has no guarantee that tooth infection will disappear. You may need more effective remedy. Try to kill your tooth infection by finding answer on this article, but best way is to consult dentist.

  • http://WorlDental.org Jane

    I have just completed my first root canal (deep filling and infection occuring after a few months). My concern is that I was informed that there is still infection in the jaw. I have a two very slight heart valve murmers and a hip replacement. Shouldn’t I be on antibiotics, and if so what is the usual protocol?

  • http://yahoo jennie

    i had an abscessed tooth the did a root canal but after the pain is very bad. feels like their has been a jack hammer in my mouth-is this normal?

  • saundra

    I have a abscecced tooth that has not a lot of pain but its in my sinus on the side of my bad tooth, its very yellow and smells.. how bad is this i have had it for over 3 weeks and no dental insurance. what is going on??

  • Donovan

    Yes this is bad. Any time you have bad smells eminating from living tissue that means there is a colony of bacteria living inside the tissue. In the case of an abcess in the mouth this infection can spread to the brain, the face or the bone and cause the loss of part of your mouth, face and death. Go to the hospital ER (YOU CAN DIE) they can give you antibiotics and drain the abcess.

  • Tiffany

    my step brother is in a coma right now from what started as a tooth abcess. and it was all because he was afraid the dentist was going to have to give him a shot. i know he wishes he would have gotten it taken care of when it was a small thing. now his mother is considering taking him off of life support.

    please don’t let this happen to you. see a doctor as soon as you think something is wrong.

  • aleita

    I have several bad cavities, the most recent being in the front. My whole right side of my face is swollen, I have a black eye because of it. The absess is so large that I can not even open my mouth much. I keep going to the ER and trying to find dental clinics that will help but the dentists have refused me and the hospital keeps giving me antibiotics that are not effective? I am scarred this is much more serious, any advice on getting a dentist involved with no dental insurance?

  • Sue

    Please advise! When my son was 3 years old, he had 5 cavities which were taken care of under sedation. Over the past 2 years (he is now 5 years old), 3 of the five former cavities have already been pulled due to abscess (2 of them within the past 2 weeks!) Is this normal? I’m not sure what to make of it, & his dentist doesn’t seem to know, either. He has had regular cleanings & checkups. Should I be concerned of underlying health problems? Is there something I can do to prevent any of the other filled teeth from abscessing?

  • lee s walters

    i have been on antibiotics for 3 weeks now for an abscessed tooth…i havent been to the dentist yet due to no dental insurance..my jaw is swollen and the swelling is now going down the left side of my neck…i am miserable!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://worldental.org/ Dental Health Magazine

    We advise you go to the dentist immediately: “Left untreated, tooth abscess may compromise the immune system and in some cases may become life-threatening.”

  • Rachael

    I have had have my tooth missing down to my gums for two years now,whith the rest of my theeth filling like they may all break when I try and eat anything hard.And a painfull time trying to eat on that side. At the same time my tooth started falling apart I started having a strange filling in my fingers when I tuch certen fabrics.I am just woundering If this may have any thing to do with my exterme use of laxtive and dieting in the past. I did not have the money when my filling frist came out and caused a big whole in my tooth, due to loosing both my parents to cancer, and just trying to make a living right after high school.

  • snowwhite

    hi all, i have been having alot of serious dental work for about 7 months, the pain continued after treatment was completed, was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia and startes tablets, pain continued, last sat pain got very bad, then my cheek began to swell from my jaw, i felt so ill but put it down to t neuralgia, but had high fever could not swallow any food or drink and my cheek from jaw swollen, decided that vthis could not possibly be neuralgia, went back to dentist who immediately put me on amoxillin 500mg 3x day for 5 days and have to go back to dentist to sort out tooth, is this enough antibiotic? how long untill swelling goes down? how much rest do i need? when will pain go away? please help me out.

  • Steve

    Hi. I hAd a root canal done. then 6 months later, my mouth blew up on me while visiting another state. I went to a dentist who x-rayed me and said an abcess formed under my crown- probably because the dentist didn’t clean all the infection out. he preferred not fix someone else’s work so I left. that was about a year ago. now the abcess is moving my crown around, headaches, sometimes my face will have something like hot/cold flashes & numb toe
    s/fingers. is all that possably from that? i’m in ca now and can’t go see that dentist. should I just get the $1400 crown pulled? thank you for your time.

  • ADK

    Steve~ DO NOT HAVE YOUR TOOTH PULLED! I did and it was one of the worst mistakes!! A Dentist worth his salt would help you regardless of who did the work! (I was married to one)
    Hurry up and make your appointment on MONDAY ASAP!!
    Feel better!

  • http://worlddental sean

    2 days ago I noticed my lower right cheek was swollen so I went to the dentist yesterday.He said I had an absessed tooth.So he prescribed me penicillin.I have been taking them as he prescribed but today the swelling has went down to the front of my throat!Is this normal as the medication is killing the infection?Will it go away as long as I keep taking my penicillin?Thank you

  • michelle

    My husband had 2 teeth pulled last night. He is really sick and throwing up. I am very worried about him. He got them pulled because they were hurting him very badly. What do i need to do???

  • Marty Martin

    I have had a tooth abscess for awhile now, i take antibiotics for it and it helps but it keeps coming back. When i take antibiotics it forms a head and i can drain it. Recently ive started getting a burning sensation in my throat, is there any way this could be related? I dont think its normal acid reflux, antacids dont really help.

  • dennis

    Thursday around Noon i started to aquire a toothache in my right upper wisdom tooth which has been impacted for over a year (or so I suspect, i have no official medical prognosis). The pain got very bad, so I purchased some maximum strength oragel and it did help to a point. I then took two 200 MG Ibuprofen pills in the evening. Friday I awoke and I experienced virtually no pain (albeit the right side of my mouth was a tad sore because of the throbbing toothache the day prior.)

    Saturday I awoke to the worst of the toothaches I’ve had in this case, it was in my tooth, jaw, back of my neck, head, and ear. It was extremely severe and I took it upon myself to dope up on the Ibuprofen all day, which did cause relief. Sunday I experienced less sever toothaches but the BOTTOM right side of my face began to swell.

    Somehow, the bottom wisdom tooth had begun causing pain, and the top wisdom tooth ceased. Again, more Ibuprofen and Oragel. Around the evening I decided to take some leftover Pennicillin 500 Antibiotics. I took two between 6 pm and 4 am (I barely slept due to the pain.) Monday the swelling had gotten much, much worse. The toothache pains were about the same as the day prior though. I continued with the Ibuprofen, Oragel and of course Pennicillin, I took 3 that day.

    Yesterday the swelling went down a great deal, but it was still rather swollen and very noticable. I went from a chipmunk to the guy with a pouch of smokeless Tobacco tucked in his cheek 😉 I took roughly 14 Ibuprofen pills and I took 4 Pennicillin throughout the day and evening (a very, very sleepless night.) Today the swelling has went down a bit more, I maybe have spit out almost half of the Tobacco pouch 😉 The toothache is still persistent, albeit less severe.

    All in all, for 3 and 1/2 days I have been taking the antibiotics, I’m wondering how much longer it will take until the swelling has subsided completely? I am aware that in many cases, the swelling is usually gone by that time, but in other cases (including one i dealt with years ago), the swelling can persist for a week or even longer.

    I know I should have been to a Dentist or atleast the E.R. by now, but I already know they cannot drain the abcess until the infection/swelling is gone, so I render it pointless. I have pain relief and an assortment of antibiotics, so there isn’t much they can do. If the infection has not dwindled to nearly non-existent by Friday, I plan to make a trip to the E.R.

    So, there is my description of my bout with an Abcessed tooth, as descriptive as possible. For home remedies, try swishing warm salt water, sticking a teabag or sliced potato in your mouth, near or on the infection. Also ice bags help to numb and reduce swelling.

    Good luck to all and don’t let it get out of hand. If you do not have readily available antibiotics, you must aquire them, otherwise the infection will just not heal.

  • JanMarie

    I have had a few abscesses in my life. This time however, the dentist pulled the tooth the first day he saw me. He said it had an abscess and asked me if I wanted a root canal or if I wanted it pulled. I said I wanted it pulled, and he did it, right then and right there. I had not been on any kind of antibiotics or anything before I saw him. I am on antibiotics now, but I am having a tough time with pain and swelling a full week after the extraction. Is there something wrong with what the dentist did? Do I need to see my regular doctor? Help, please!

  • ADK

    An assortment of antibiotics is not going to help you. You need to be on a regimen of PENICILLIN! PLEASE go to a DENTIST ASAP!! Let us know what happened!

  • margate27

    I have a tooth that had an old silver colored filling that just broke off one day when I was chewing gum. I have had an abscess twice on the tooth. I have no dental insurance, so I looked online for a home remedy. The best one I have found that worked in less than 30 minutes: Put some warm to hot water in a cup and mix in 1/2 table salt & 1/2 baking soda, dip cotton ball in mixture and stick on abscess for about 5 – 10 minutes, than repeat with new cotton balls until abscess drains. Hope this helps!!!

  • nancy

    Hi..on thursday I had root canal on an absessed tooth. I am on amoxicillin 500mgs 4 times a day. It is Sunday morning and I still have swelling. I am controlling the pain with advil. I called the dentist this morning and he told me if it has not come down by the morning he will have to drain it again. I am going on vacation on Tuesday and I’m a nervous wreck.

  • Mary Munro-Hill

    When I bite on my tooth (left upper molar), I have the most dreadful taste in my mouth (like pig-slurry): it is awful. I noticed some gum tenderness yesterday and again this morning and I wonder whether I have a small tooth abscess.

    I have some penicillin at home: should I take it now?

  • Lajay

    I have a cracked wisdom tooth on the top right side I guess it got infected the pain got so bad had to go to e.r I am now on antibiotics and have been for 4 days, now the pain is much worse jaw bone hurts, shooting pains under my jaw. Don’t know what to do vicodin not working pain is to much to bear.

  • Mike Burruss

    I had a dentist whom I often used who was a family friend. As a result of a very painful tooth abscess he performed a root cannal and crowned the effected tooth. Some five years later I started having problems with that same tooth again.

    Because I had moved to the other side of town I decided to try another local dentist who made a horrifying discovery.
    During the root cannal procedure my previous dentist (the so called family friend)had accidently broken off a tiny file inside the root cannal and just left it there.

    This foreign material caused a major infection, one that went unrealized because it relitively painless. Eventually the infection ate a hole in my facial bones and was slow dripping staph infection into my sinus.

    That tooth ended up costing me more than four grand before it was eventually removed. Since that time I have had one root cannal after another, over six thousand bucks worth. I now experience significant muscle, joint pain and a reoccurring rash on my face.

    Is it possible I have developed osteomeylitis or a similar infection? My current dentist seems oblivious to what is happeneing in my mouth or perhaps has merely put his profits ahead of my health. Please advise.

  • K Crosby

    I have an abcessed tooth, bottom right last 2 teeth-both have had root canals and crowns, the pain came on suddely but wasn’t unbearable-2 days later the pain became known as the “worst pain of my life”–My mother in law gave me antibiotics, Cephalexin from her dentist (40 500 mg capsules) this was on a Fri and I was 700 miles from home. I have an appt tomorrow to have it looked at–the dentist said that I should continue taking the antibiotics and they would be helpful–

    Anyways 3 days of taking them & many “remedies” what I have found that actually will relieve some of the pain is:

    Rinsing w/ hydrogen peroxide & warm water 50/50 mix
    Take a dry teabag and roll it up like snuff & place between gum & cheek
    Ibuprofen for swelling-
    alternate w/ ice/heat packs….

    The teabag reduces swelling & is supposed to drain the in

  • Jessica

    I have a chipped tooth. It is in the upper jaw the very back tooth on the left side. The tissue around this area is very swollen and tender. There is a bump right beside my ear on the left side also that is very tender to the touch. For about a week now off and on I have been experiencing excruciating pain that just radiates all down the left side of my face. Rinsing with mouth wash helped to dull the pain for just a little bit, Orajel is a joke and if I take an Excedrin I am pain free for about an hour then it comes back with a vengence. I have also been really sick for the past week I have had a fever I am really tired and there is a bad taste in my mouth that I just can not get rid of. What is going on? I have no health insurance and I don’t know what I should do. Please someone help me.

  • Amber

    I went to this free clinic and they have real doctors. To get my back tooth pulled this tooth was half way decade. So they nummed me up adn tried to pull it. Well afet 6 whole tubes they could not get me nummeb up enough cause i could still feel it. So they sent me home with some anti and with half of my tooth there and told to take Advil and tylone every four hours. This sucks after reading all of this i am very scard many people told me tho that the reason i would not num all the way was because i had a infection and that taking the anti would help and when i went back i woulc num but i am so scared to go threw that again. They also think that my wisdom tooth might be holdlin it in still. I dont want to die this scares me how long doese a tooth have to be like this to really get sick. I had it like this for 2 years then i went to the dentist last night to get it pulled but they only got half of it

  • Lisa

    Several of you need to look for dental clinics that operate on a sliding-fee scale. They do exist. I am being treated for an abscess right now, and will have to have the tooth extracted. The two visits and extractions will only cost me around $75.00.

    I realize that some of you might be on medicaid, etc. Have you thought about a nearby dental school? Even if you have to drive a couple of hours, it might be worth it. Some of these schools will do the work for little to nothing.

    I have been really sick with this, including fever, nausea, and some dizziness, and am glad to know that this can cause sinus problems.

  • unknown2u

    My brother died because of a tooth abscess, he was 31. He died on November 5th 2009. It spread to his brain.

  • Margie

    i had 2 wisdom bottom teeth pulled. On day 2, i had severe swelling on my left side, and a ball feeling like the size of quarter, and lots of pain, and called the doctor. He asked me to come in, as soon as he saw me he numb me and cut open the stitches from the surgery, and the made another cut where the abscessed was, and then squeezed all that junk out.
    rinsed it and Filled it up with iodoform packing or medicated gauze and increased my antibiotics… clyndamycin from 150 mg, to 300 mg.
    today is day 5, and the swelling has gone down.
    But i helped myself with the following;

    1. rinse frequent with both the medicated rinse prescription, and Vinegar (apple cider) half an once of vinegar and 2 of water.
    Bacteria can’t live in such high acidity level. (but make sure you rinse with water after, vinegar can damage your teeth enamel.)
    2. got me some great immune help by taken
    High C drink
    hemoplex pill
    and making sure I eat a good balanced meal
    also you can take colloidal silver to help your immune system
    it will help you heal faster.
    3. Ibuprofen to help out with the inflammation and vicodin with the pain

    tomorrow is day 6, and my face looks almost normal

    Make sure if you are having pain, no matter what level that you follow up with a dentist… and take care of yourself cuz no one better than you will..

  • matthew myers

    i have a small pin hole behind my second molar where my wisdom teeth should come in. i get nasty tastes and upset stomach every now and then and sometimes a small ammount of yellow discharge. is this becoming abscessed? is it something to worry about? i am 19 and have no type of insurance at all and after reading this stuff i am scared of what could happen. can somebody please help me out?

  • Jennifer Scott

    I was diagnosed w/ and absece tooth 3 years ago. (Upper jaw). I had severe pain & a bubble that popped (back then). I was told that I needed surgery. I have not had the surgery, & now my right eye is slightly closing & I have severe constant pressure on my right sinus. I have five children & it is hard to arrange for a babysitter & a driver, so I can get the surgery. Do you think this is life threatining? If so, what are the risks to my life if I continue to keep this problem un-treated?

  • http://worldental.org/ Dental Health Magazine

    I personally think, any problems related to abscess need to be treated ASAP. It can be real life threatening. You need to address your dentist or doctor.


  • Antonio

    Folks, I’d gladly go to see a dentist, but they quote me over $2000 just to fix one tooth… I don’t have any health insurance as I can’t afford it, no job, I must live as self-employed which is tough, sometimes get one day jobs. How can I afford $2000+ per tooth? I need many teeth fixed and implants and only so-so twenty teeth left in my mouth (all front ones (fixed long ago when I lived in a dentally-affordable country). Last time I had an infection and a swollen face they charted me over $300 cash just to give me antibiotics. Does it make sense to you that one tooth to fix costs more than my monthly salary (when I have a job)? Can USA dentists lower their costs significantly and be less greedy? This is our request! Or will they CHOKE on their huge money?

  • Antonio

    snowwhite on Dec 15th, 2008 at 9:40 am

    hi all, i have been having alot of serious dental work for about 7 months, the pain continued after treatment was completed, was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia and startes tablets, pain continued, last sat pain got very bad, then my cheek began to swell from my jaw, i felt so ill but put it down to t neuralgia, but had high fever could not swallow any food or drink and my cheek from jaw swollen, decided that this could not possibly be neuralgia, went back to dentist who immediately put me on amoxillin 500mg 3x day for 5 days and have to go back to dentist to sort out tooth, is this enough antibiotic? how long untill swelling goes down? how much rest do i need? when will pain go away? please help me out.

    SNOWWHITE, I’m not a doctor, but I am surprised that people must pay such exorbitant dental charges, then their dentist does not even bother to advise them what and how exactly they should be doing. Then you had to come here and ask all these questions which you should have asked your dentist. Please ask your dentist, he or she got paid and they must be nice and advise you even if they are not asked, they should give you a lot of info after treatment. A good doctor will NEVER RUSH THEIR PATIENT and will not leave them in the unknown. Even if not asked, a GOOD DOCTOR should give at least written instructions. Spoken is better to remember and writen sometimes better to have so I’d do both if I was a doctor.

  • Phyllis

    My boyfriend has had a abscess tooth for about two months but we have no insurance. How long is to long to wait? We are working on saving up the money to get it pulled but after reading some of the comments I am getting pretty worried. Is he going to face any long term or life threatening side effects if he waits another month or two? He already has severe pain and he pops it almost every morning trying to get the infection out. Is it good or bad to pop it?

  • Antonio

    If have money go to dentist, if no money go to ER.



  • Kendra

    If your in extreme pain try putting a piece of onion in your mouth for temporary relief. Onions are known to soak up bacteria and it will start absorbing the bacteria causing infection immediately. You should feel relief in 1-2 mins. However, this only takes away the pain for about 2 hrs you still need to see a dentist who will pull the tooth for you.

  • Rebecca

    I had an abcessed wisdom tooth for about two years. It hurt for awhile and then went away. My eyesite had been getting very blurry lately (which I assumed was due to having to have a c-section), but now that I had the tooth pulled my eyesite is clear again. Also, I had been having some shooting pain on and off in my neck, which freaked me out, so it was time for the tooth to go.
    Please get the teeth pulled instead of having a root canal. There are many links between cancers and root canals, as they usually become bacteria ridden and infected.
    Oral health is so important, I wish my parents had taught me better, now I am teaching my children to care for their mouths.

  • V

    I have 2 abscesses. one acute, and the other one’s cronic. the stupid headache and fever is what annoys me most but with no insurance or money I’m stuck… I just hope it doesn’t get too bad :/

  • Rick Oshea

    If anyone here has an abscessed tooth, get it tended to immediately! You’ll feel 95% better as soon as the tooth is gone. I was freaked out to have the tooth pulled… but now I’d rather go have a tooth pulled than listen to Justen Beaver! It was that easy…. they told me the tooth was out, and I thought “already? i didn’t even feel anything.” Modern denistry sure has come along way!!!

  • Joshua Stancil

    I took a flight to Vegas with an untreated abcess it popped inflight worst pain ever had to have emergencey antibiotics. Please don’t let one go untreated can be deadly and please don’t fly with one the pressure in flight can cause more serious complications.

  • Marco

    I see a lot of dentists using scare tactics on forums :-)
    It’s a very are case to die from a tooth abscess, very rare indeed. I had 12 teeth “go away” rot, abscess etc. and many other people I know had lots of abscesses and no one ever died from it, yet it is possible to die from an abscess if one is extremely unlucky, similar to falling down from a 7th floor, surviving the fall, then dying from a diarrhea caused by the fall.

    I had an abscess recently, it was treated by a root canal specialist and it remained swollen after that, but the dentist when he put the filling, he did something and it’s all flat now so far so good.

  • Misti

    I am only 26 but have been on Methadone for pain management for a condition I have. The Methadone has started to quickly rot my teeth away & now have 3 back & side teeth that are flat down to the gums & have had a bad abscess in them all but for 2 smaller abscesses I put sea salt & baking soda in a baggie & mixed I up then soaked a cotton ball in warm water then dipped it in the baggie of mix till covered. Then stick it on the abscess before bed like between ur cheek & gums & sleep with it there & in the morning my abscesses popped out & opened & drained. Depending on ur abscess it may take 2 or more sessions if this for u. I found that remedy online a few yrs back with tons if positive reviews. Anyways now one of my top left side my teeth has a very bad abscess & this time it isn’t right there in my gums it is up right to the left of my nose!! It hurts to even wash my face or anything! I look like I have a golf ball up in my cheek next to my nose & like many others am stuck in this world with NO medical or dental coverage! I do know that this was caused by me because im so scared if the dentist & I didnt go in at the first sign of my teeth breaking off pieces when I would eat. But I have no insurance so it wouldn’t have mattered much anyways. Well last night I realized that ive had a massive headache behind my left eye for the last 3 days, also when I sniffle in my head gets really tight in my sinus area & ive been feeling feverish. If anyone reading these comments knows of any good home remedies can u please share them with all of us suffering right now? It would be greatly appreciated. To all my fellow abscess sufferers…ur not alone, hang in there!

  • Betsey Leard

    Can a abssesed tooth lead to an infection in the brain, my husband has sypmtons like when he moves his head a certain way he gets very dizzy. Is this possible his Doctor told him it was his teeth, and that it could kill him or lead to him needing to have holes drilled in his skull to drain the infection. Thank you for listening to a very concerned wife.

  • Kimmy

    People, it’s really important that you visit your local emergency room or dentist at the first sign of an abscessed tooth. Money shouldn’t be an object when it comes to your health, and yes, an infection in your mouth can kill you. I had my wisdom teeth removed about a month and a half ago, and had a really slow recovery with the one that was impacted. The other day, I woke up and my face was really swollen and I had horrible pain coming from the same area where that troublesome wisdom tooth had been. I went to the urgent care center, as it was Sunday and I couldn’t see a dentist. The doctor told me there was an abscess and it was imperative that I see my dentist first thing Monday morning. He prescribed me Amoxycillin and Vicodin. The next say, I went to the oral surgeon who performed my wisdom teeth extraction instead of my regular dentist, and soon found out that I did indeed have an abscess. It turns out that there were 5 tiny bone fragments stuck in the hole where that one wisdom tooth was, because they had to break into the jaw to get it. I was awake through this procedure, and it was actually pretty tramatizing. He opened up the hole and drained all the pus out, as well as finding the bone fragments. That was 2 days ago, and I am still on the antibiotics and taking vicodin every 6 hours. My face is way more swollen than it was even after the removal of all four wisdom teeth, and my neck has begun to swell as well. I plan on calling the dentist when they open to make sure this is normal. I just want to stress to all of you that it’s so imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible for this type of thing, it will only get worse. Best of luck to all of you, and I know just how painful even treated tooth abscesses can be.

  • Kimmy

    Please don’t take my advice as seriously as someone in the healthcare profession, but yes, a tooth infection can make you dizzy. I believe if the infection is on the upper part of the jaw, it can play games with your sinuses.

  • Dentalcostfrustration

    I was diagnosed with an abcessed tooth by my dentist 3wks ago. It is quite fortunate that I have insurance that will pay 50% of the cost for the treatment, but more unfortunate that I can not afford my 50% of the cost required to fix this problem. The tooth infected is the 3rd bottom left molar, the dentist gave me Penicillin to take & encouraged me to take anti-inflammatory medications to help alleviate my pain. The dental office clerks stated that they required a deposit of $350.00 before the dentist would actually either extract the tooth or continue with what ever plans I decided. This is after I paid my $250 dollar deductable in addition to my co-pay. “Yes, my insurances sucks”. I am a single mother, full-time college student, I work full-time, tutor voluntarily at the college I attend and volunteer at community service events. I am an extremely active member in this society and somehow I can’t find a decent, honest dentist with ethical & moral values to actually trust me to pay out this co-pay ! This is believably – unbelievable ! What happened to the do no harm ? So, here I sit at home with progressive worsening of my signs of symptoms of an abcessed tooth (swollen lymph nodes in my neck, under my chin, facial swelling, pounding tooth migraines along with head migraines, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, jaw pain lt. sided) So, what is with dentist these days? It’s sad that some people have to even get this sick due to their financial status. I don’t drink, do drugs, smoke, or even splurg on spending money I make ! I pay my bills, take care of my kids, go to school, work, etc… I am worried that the antibiotics aren’t working due to the trending signs & symptoms. Tomorrow, if I’m able to drive; will hopefully be able to make it to an “indigent care dental care center” and I’ve not heard good things about these places and I have insurance ! This is most frustrating to me. Maybe I should just go to the E.R. and maybe they’ll call me an OMFS resident to who actually cares .

  • Tami

    If you came across this website, chances are you are in agony with a toothache and/or are one of the many who are hitting brick walls in need of a dentist but haven’t the money.
    Look, as long as you brush and floss after each meal and avoid too much sugar, you should never get an abscess. It’s pure laziness that gets people (not excluding myself at one time) infected in the teeth.
    Definetly go get antibiotics…and demand anything but amoxicillin as it doesn’t kill bacteria but just keeps it from breeding. For pain, I suggest 2 Advil Liquid Gels followed by a good long stand under a hot shower on the area. Also, clove oil is a natural antiseptic and dental analgesic. It calms the pulp and clears infection.
    If you have no money/insurance, most counties have a regional health clinic…and if there isn’t one, go to the main city nearest you and they will have one. Also, dental colleges will do any procedure for free as you are helping senior students practice before graduating. You can trust them too, they are only a few months from graduating and are very skilled by the time you see them and there are real orthodontists watching.

  • GG

    every tooth in my mouth is loose(shaking)they seemed to be shifting. (apart) I am only 47. Several of my molars were removed do to infection about 7 years ago. Everything seemed to go well after that. The dentist did not offer dentures as I had State insurance at the time. I now have headaches and an a foul smell. Eating is a chore of conscious maneuvering.(unless food is soft) I have now started using an inhaler/nebulizer(no history of respiratory problems. I am reading here that my teeth could be causing all this? I now have trouble going up my stairs my bones ache. I will be in a dentist chair Monday morning. Stupidity will not be a line on my tomb stone.

  • Eric

    I have an extremely abscessed tooth that ruptured several minutes ago. Right now, as we speak, the infection is slowly draining into my mouth. My face is extremely swolen and I’m terribly afraid that I may develope some sort of complication or issue from this. “Go take care of that!” Everyone says. I would if I could but I have absolutely no insurance. I cannot see a dentist because I cannot afford one. How is it that an infected spinter in your finger can be removed at a hospital emergency room but not an infected tooth. I may die from this or lose some years from the end of my life and there is no one to help.

  • ronnie

    Abcess tooth that has caused me to have a gum dsease m. Sck al time differant parts of body daily now its up in the sinuses ears and eys is this serous

  • jessica

    to anyone in pain and cant afford care. Go to ER and get some antibotics to rid yourself of infection. i cant get my tooth pulled yet cuz i dont have any insurance but i know i need to at least get the infection out. i had to call off to go to ER, i was in severe distress. This is the worst pain i ever had. To those in pain now, your in my prayers. good luck to you. I hope i can find some decent dental insurance that can take care of this. If i was wish id do a sleeping dentistry.

  • Dude2

    I chipped my front tooth while eating olives…. and the dentist made bonding since only about 1/8 of the tooth was lost to chipping. Yet the tooth now looks “overlapped” onto another tooth at an angle a little bit. Is this normal? Why dentist was unable to make the tooth straight like the others? Is this common practice in USA?

  • Doug

    For anyone without dental insurance: If you live near a decent sized university you might see if they have a dental school, the students will perform dental work for little or no cost. The university near me does any and all dental work for 1 tooth for $140.0.

  • Vanessa

    Hi have an abcess right now, and I’m booked to go to the dentist for a root canal on MOnday. But until then, it feels like someone punched me on my cheeck. It’s killing me. If you can get to a dentist, do it.

  • Abby

    Thats really sad that we live in a country where people are dying because they cannot afford dental care. Something needs to be done about that. Tooth pain is the worst kind of pain right next to chidbirth.

  • SadlySwollen

    I have an abcessed tooth right now. I’ve actually been on antibiotics for a full 3 months out of the past nine just for teeth problems, I’ve never had enamel on my teeth and my mom swears that taking too many antibiotics as a kid are what ruined my teeth. I’m toying with heading back to the ER just so I can get some temporary pain relief. The only problem is, they will refer me to the local dental clinic, that only does basic maintenance and fillings. That local clinic will then refer me to the oral surgeon. I already went to the oral surgeon in January and had 2 teeth removed, and had an appointment to have 2 more pulled on 2/14. They cancelled that appointment on 2/14, and even though I’ve called and e-mailed numerous times, I can’t get them to make another appointment. My front left canine and tooth right beside it are literally broken off at the gumline. I popped the abcess early today and can’t get it to drain anymore, and it’s all up in my face. I’ve even been taking clindamycin for 3 days and the infection will not die. The nearest school of dentristry is a 8 hour drive, and that’s also the location of the next nearest oral surgeon that will accept my insurance. And we don’t have a babysitter for our 2 young children, nor gas money to get there, it’s so far that even the state won’t help me get there. I’d like to just get all my top teeth pulled out and get a half set of dentures, surprisingly, with the exception of a few cavities and problems with my broken wisdom teeth in the bottom, my bottom teeth are actually in good shape. I’m just worried about the TMJ I suffer from, that’s why all my teeth on top are so cracked, the more pain I’m in, the harder I clench. And I’ve literally chewed through 2 bite plates(they were rubber type material as my teeth break on plastic). We definitely need dental reform in this country.

  • Sharon

    I have an abscessed molar that has had a root canal done on it. I’ve been treated twice with antibiotics. It’s very painful, but long story short, the tooth is attached to a bridge which will need to come out and I will need two implants and a sinus lift. The cost of the surgery? Approx. $6500 – and that has to be paid at the time of service. No wonder so many people go untreated. We are working on getting a loan to have it done, but until then I have to go back in to see my regular dentist Monday for another round of antibiotics and Vicodin.. I’m SO over this!!

  • Melanie

    I have a absessed tooth and it is very painful, But i am also experiancing headahces, is that part of an absessed tooth?

  • eddy

    So first off like many of us have said its horrible we have to live like this because our government dental insurance sucks.. oh u want your tooth fixed?that’ll be 700 dollars and we need the money right now. Wtf. But neway ill try to help.. I’ve had a swollen gum face and throat for a few days now and yesterday I did something about it.. first I went and got some oxy-glide and put it on the bad area. This is supposed to kill the inffection which I think it did.. swollen gum has gone down.. now I did what someone on here said, use hot water 1/2 tbl salt 1/2 baking soda and it drains the abcess. Seems to be working. Thanx for the tip. Hopefully I can help ppl with this good luck. Hopefully this country changes some things soon. If you have a problem for more than a week try to get it taken care of.. once again good luck

  • Jacqueline Boring

    I went to a dentist to have teeth removed and a partial plate put in. I also had two bad teeth on the bottom left side that were badly decayed. I asked the dentist to pull them but he insisted on trying to save them. After going to weeks in a row with him digging into the teeth, I asked again for him to pull them. Two days later my jaw swelled excessively and I was unable to contact the dentist. I called his home and a woman said I had the wrong number. I knew that was not true. I kept my next appointment and let him know that I was unable to get in touch with him and he pretended that something was wrong with his emergency service. I know that is not true because the same thing happened just a week ago and I did not keep my appointment. I now have an appointment with a dental surgeon and hopefully he will remove the teeth that I have been trying to have removed since March, 2011. Any opinions???

  • Karen B

    I’ve had an abcessed tooth for about 2 months. I am waiting for dental insurance through a new job I started and should have it by mid Sept. My face is swollen but no one notices except me so it can’t be that bad however, the gum has engulfed part of the tooth. Can I afford to wait a few more weeks? I’ve been unemployed for 2 years and just got this job so financially I cannot afford to pay out of pocket.

  • stephanie

    i have been on pennicillian for almost a week for a tooth abcess. i can still feel the abcess in my lower jaw. the swelling isent too bad but i still get horrible pain. has anyone ever been on an antibotic for a week yet still feel a knot or abcess in tooth and jaw. and i agree that a dentist shouldent be able to turn down someone with an abcess just because of insurance. its a bunch of crap!

  • Khali

    I have had a problem with my wisdom teeth for years now but one has just recently become infected. My glands in my neck are swollen and my ear hurts but it’s not unbearable. I had no idea how serious things could get. Now I’m freaking out about because I’m hearing you can DIE! Should I be worried or is it ok to wait til Monday to get it taken care of?

  • Pardon

    Can untreated gum disease and decayed teeth lead to a brain tumour?

  • http://facebook.com/mizztapeppa Reko Rivera

    I have had about 5 or 6 infected and extremely painful abcesses, when It first happened when I was 19 I didnt know what to do. I am in the same boat as all of you. No insurance, no money, etc. I am 25 now and I have ANOTHER abscess tooth, this is the 2nd time it has ever gotten swollen the first time it was really concentrated and big you could definetly tell just by looking at me. This time its a little less noticable but I can feel it over a greater surface area. THANK GOD no pain (right now).

    I went last week to my county health clinic to get approved for local health care and dental care. It’s free and/or reduced based on your income which mine is about zero at the moment. I am approved for a year. I am going tomorrow to one of the local clinics they gave me a number too to take care of this. I reccommend EVERYONE who has ANY teeth probelms to find these local programs sign up right away and get any and all work done. Try to keep your teeth if thats an option, if not get that shit pulled and plan on getting either dentures here in america or start saving a couple grand and get your teeth done in a foreign country, i have heard and have friends get their implants and vineers done in costa rice and domican republic. Good luck on your journey if you have a dental emergency and dont have time to sign up for a program hit the ER immediately and get some anti-biotics and prescription pain meds to take care of that deathly feeling pain.

  • Darlene Breese

    My daughter age 47 has an abcessed tooth. Woke up this morning face and neck swollen. She went to ER and they said the poison has spread thro her body. She’s on IV now. Will this help the problem or will she need more then IV? Thank you very much.
    Concerned Mom

  • Darlene Breese

    Have never been on this website. Awesome Thank you.

  • jasmine

    I have had an infected/abcessed wisdom tooth for a very very long time.(approx. 4 1/2 years) at first it was my bottom left wisdom tooth which has now pretty much completely decayed…theres just a little piece left…i have always just gone to the er just to get antibiotics and pain meds thinking that a tooth infection isn’t anything serious…after that tooth deycayed the pain went away but then the wisdom tooth on the bottom right side started to hurt and is now half way decayed…i went to the er again last night and was told that the infection was very close to my brain and that I had formed an abcess on my left cheek wall from the other tooth that ahd decayed before…then I read that last year a 24 year old guy died from a tooth infection that had spread to his brain…i am soo freaked out..tomorrow I have an appointment with an oral surgeon but I don’t know how I’m gonna be able to afford my deductable since I’m unemployed…the health department can’t see anyone else for like two months and I don’t know if this can wait any longer….it really really shouldn’t be this hard to get help especially when someones life is in danger…smh…i hope whoever has an infection/abcess get dental help asap!!! And believe me when I say I feel your pain…ive been suffering it off and on for almost five years! GET THEM SUCKERS OUT!!!

  • Candy

    I have had deep white fillings in my lower Left jaw for about 2 years now, I went to the dentist yesterday for very bad pain in my jaw. He gave me RX for PCN VK 500 3x day. Last night I had sharp ear pain radiating down my jaw underneath my chin and down my neck. The dentist suggested a root canal. If I dont have any swelling, redness, or drainage around my teeth and I have deep fillings How does he know I need a root canal. I have already had a lot of dental work done. The pain is unrelieved by tylenol and IBU, What should I do?

  • Chantal

    I am suffering from tooth pain in the right lower jaw back molar Its excruciating and its Infected. painful to bite chew and its been going on for 3 weeks i recently finished a prescription for Clyndamycin and it has not relieved the pain or the infection. I have pain in my right ear and neck and a squishy sensation like the tooth is rising out of the socket. the tooth itself is badly decayed and i know it needs to be removed just no money at all to accomplish this yet. I am in Canada and don’t know if ohio will cover this? I need help I have lost weight 20 pounds because i can’t eat from the pain tylonal and ibuprofen are not doing anything to help what can i do??

  • Andy

    I had a root canal and deep filling several years ago, and therefore had no feelings in my top rear molar. I began to feel pressure in my gum, and didn’t think much of it. Eventually the tooth adjacent to it began to hurt, so I went to have it checked out. I endend up requiring the original tooth to be extracted, and required work on the second. After the procedure and a cycle of antibiotics, I noticed a huge difference in my energy level, and overall well being. Apparently it takes a lot out of your body to fight infection. This alone is reason to get it looked after!

  • Angela

    First, I so much disagree with this sites incorrect information. To say that you can only die from not being able to breathe is just wrong. There is also sepsis. I had an abcess the size of a quarter. An oral surgeon was brought in to remove it, but immediately following I was sicker than Id ever been on my lifetime. Within weeks I began to develope terrible muscle, bone and vascular pain that slowly over the courae of the next few years took away my quality of life. After 2 years they were finally able to put a name on my 7 different conditions. Two of them muscle diseases, one vein condition, and several opportunistic infections that took hold as ny immunity was wiped out. Please tell the people the truth. Infrctions kill and/or change your life forever. Some peopleof I waswas told haveher to have opena heart surgery. I was blessedin and didntfollowed need it. Go to dentists for checkups. Oh I failed to mention. I will soon be using crutches as my cane no longer gives me enough support to walk. Avoid sepsis…dental checkups every 6months. Thanks.

  • Arturo

    Please can someone help me I’ve had my mouth wired shut had the wires snipped but still have the hardware as my surgeon calls it still in my mouth its been two years and I still have the metal in my mouth and at the same time a whole a.hole in my tooth and I feel air go in that hole and it streams down to my chest now I feel burning pain in my chest feels like my chest is tightend up and hurts can someone help it feels like I could die can someone email me please thanks I’d appreciate it greatly

  • Laurie

    Arturo, -GO TO THE ER OR URGENT CARE or CALL 911. at least CALL a nurses helpline to find out what to do.

    anthem (888) 220-3891

    Nurse first 1-800-330-7847

    both are 24/7

    and to everyone:

    the website says this at the bottom:

    Disclaimer: The information in this website should not be used as a substitute for the care and advice of your personal dentist or another physician. For all questions and proposals use our contact page.

    from me: it’s best to at least give your dentist a phone call. there are actually clinics that will provide free or low cost care if you need it too if you look online in your area.

  • Allen

    went to dentist today and I have an abscess and a hole in my tooth, scheduled for oral surgery next Tuesday. I’m on antibiotics and pain killers prescribed by my dentist.

  • jason

    i myself dont have insurance but when two of my teeth #9,#10 developed an abcess a few days ago i didnt care what the cost was i wanted them out it hurt so bad and was constant. it cost $254 for the two to get pulled but it was better than having to deal with the pain wouldnt get maybe an hour of sleep, appetite went downhill and if theres one thing in the world that makes someone cry like a baby it a toothache. my teeth all went to hell because of drugs and poor oral hygiene as i look back now wish i would have brushed at least. im only 28 with a set of dentures in the very near future because im tired of looking in the mirror and see what all my “younger fun” had cost. $3,683 is the total to get the rest pulled its a hell of alot of money but at least i will feel better physically and i can smile in a picture again (thats if i didnt forget how). long story short get your toothaches taken care of most dental offices take payments so its somethin to look into.
    thank you and have a good day.

  • Nikki Cowell

    I don’t have the money to see a dentist, nor the insurance. I have a cavity that I believe the nerve has abscessed. it has been bothering me for about 4 days. When I swallow, the top part of the right side of my throat feels almost swollen. The pain and tenderness is now almost the whole right side, but it is all under my tongue except the constant throb of the tooth. I am not 100 percent sure it is the tooth, because I have never had an abscess spread like this nor this fast. It hurts to eat and drink as well. I want to go to the ER but due to my money situation I have already been there a lot in the past year and a half for abscess. Is there a chronic disease that causes your teeth and gums to abscess like this? I will more than likely go to the er if it spreads any more, but with it being at the top of my throat should I go now?

  • Cheyanne

    I have two really bad teeth on my bottom jaw and they are pretty much across from each other. Both teeth have almost completely decayed and the nerves and what seems to be gums are exposed. I understand consulting a dentist, but I was wondering what will I need to do. Because of the point of decay is my jaw bone ok or can it be ruined too.

  • Deb

    Just got out of the hospital for an abcess. ER docs thought it was a heart attack (left jaw pain). As time went on, the swelling in my face grew and grew. PAIN was unbearable. Tried to self treat (in the hospital). Used hot moist cloths and during the heart stress test :( the abcess broke loose. My wonderful dentist saw me today and gave me antibiotics. Can’t believe the docs at the hosptial would not even LOOK at the swelling as it progressed. Now, reading that could have been life threatening, it makes me upset. The misdiagnosis level for abscess is scary!!!!!!!!!

  • Pris

    Laziness is not the only thing that causes teeth problems. I suffer from severe acid/bile reflux, and that’s what has caused my teeth problems. The acid has literally eaten away at my teeth, and they look terrible even though I brush floss and use mouthwash with an antiseptic.

  • Phil

    I’ve had a small gum abscess for about four months, caused I think because of a twin deep filling on two back molars. I’ve been back to my dentist twice, the latest last week, when he said that it was OK to leave it, that it wouldn’t spread, and no action required. He said he knows people who have lived such a gum abscess for years. This advice seems to fly in the face of almost everything I’ve read about gum abscesses.
    I got a second opinion from another dentist – he said it was a developing gum abscess and recommended X-Ray, antibiotics and root canal treatment.
    Should I change dentist as mine is averse to doing anything?

  • zee

    As Pris said, laziness is not the only thing that causes abscesses. I have an abscess in my gum under my two bottom front teeth. My dentist said that my teeth were perfect and had no cavities, and an injury from my childhood had caused an abscess to form in the lower part of my gum ( I fell off the monkey bars and a rock went through my lip and into my gum) and the infection and pressure haev built up over a period of…15 years. So..yeah…not laziness.

  • zee


  • toni

    In 2008 I got a root canal on one of my molars. Since then my temporary cap had fallen out, and the rest of my tooth has chipped away. I now have half a tooth that I wish i could just yank out! In June of this year I realized I have an abscess on my tooth that is EXTREMELY painful. My jaw hurts and I now feel like I have a sinus infection. I’m a worry wart and am so terrified of the infection spreading. I do not have insurance so I’m just stuck in pain.

  • Toughth

    You frighten people well enough with threat of death, but do you make it possible for people to get adequate dental care? No. You don’t. It’s nearly impossible to find a dentist who is willing to deal with what you are able to deal with financially, one step at a time. Instead, one can be presented with an enormous prospective cost, AND the scare tactics.

    My oral-maxillofacial surgeon didn’t bother with imaging when he inspected my mouth for oral cancer, even when my symptoms were the elevated tongue, et al. It’s the blasted broken molar – -and now a year later.

    The morbidity is real enough, so do something to make dental care more widely available.

  • Jennifer

    I just went to ER for severe tooth pain which seems to be an abscess! I can hardly open my jaw now an am having a lot of jaw pain an a headache started a few hours ago. Starting to get scared and maybe considering going back for another docs opinion?! Or should I wait and see if I can get into dentist first or perhaps a hospital w antibiotics thru IV is needed? Thanks for all your help! Jennifer

  • http://facebook.com/tony.venuti Tony Venuti

    Consider this…an Abscess is NOT a Dental condition it is a Medical condition, with possible death not treated…can’t afford it..