How Long Can a Tooth Infection Go Untreated?

Dental Health Advice

If you have a tooth infection, or are experiencing the symptoms of one, it is absolutely crucial that you book an emergency dentist appointment to get it treated as soon as possible.

When left untreated for a prolonged time, a tooth infection can spread and result in severe sickness, as well as extreme injury to the mouth and in very extreme (and very rare) circumstances, even result in death.

What causes a tooth infection

A tooth infection does not go away on its own. An infection in the teeth is the result of a buildup of bacteria that enters the soft tissue or nerve of the tooth (known as the pulp). This can occur as the result of dental trauma or injury, tooth decay, or from pre-existing dental problems. 

When left untreated, this bacteria and plaque damages the pulp in your tooth which then leads to the infection and abscess to occur in your tooth, gums or jaw. These abscesses fill with bacterial fluids and pus, which will need carefully removing and cleaning during an emergency dentist appointment.

Booking an emergency dentist appointment as soon as you experience dental trauma or symptoms of a dental emergency as soon as they occur, and following a dental hygiene routine can greatly reduce your chance of infection and keep your teeth healthy. However, if left untreated a tooth infection can result in serious damage to your teeth, gums and jaw. 

Symptoms of a tooth infection

There are a few general signs of infection to lookout for with dental infections, if you are experiencing any of the below please book an emergency dentist appointment as soon as possible.

  • Extreme pain and sensitivity to the damaged tooth and gum
  • Sensitivity when chewing, biting and consuming hot or cold food and beverages
  • Ongoing throbbing toothache that make spread to the jaw, neck or ear
  • A fever or high temperature
  • Discoloured, tender, or loose teeth
  • Redness, swelling and tenderness to your face and/or gums
  • A sudden foul smell and taste in your mouth 
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

Home remedies for tooth infection

It is important to note that there are no home remedies to cure a tooth infection, this can only be achieved through an emergency dentist appointment where you receive the appropriate treatment and care. However, there are some tips and tricks you can follow to help reduce pain as you wait for your appointment, these include:

  • Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to temporarily help to reduce swelling and pain (be sure to follow recommended guidelines on the packaging).
  • Saltwater rinse – a salt water rinse on a dental abscess can help to clean the damaged area. Be sure to swill the fluid and spit it out after.
  • Using a cold compress will help to reduce swelling on your face.
  • Over the counter products can be bought at local chemists to help soothe the infected area.

Remember, these remedies are only recommended to reduce pain prior to your appointment and should not be used as a method to treat a dental abscess or tooth infection.

Book an emergency dentist appointment near you

If you require urgent dental care, get in touch with the team here at The 247 Dentist. We offer same day, evening, weekend, and bank holiday appointments to ensure you get the critical dental care you need to treat and recover your teeth.

With clinics based across the UK, and online dental consultations available nationally, we’re here to ensure you can be seen at a time and place that suits you. Find your nearest dental centre and book an emergency dentist appointment!

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