An Infected Tooth - Pacific Northwest Dental

Can You Die From Pulling an Infected Tooth

May 10, 2024

Toothaches are no picnic. That throbbing pain can make you want to do anything for relief, even the unthinkable: pulling the offending tooth yourself. But hold on to the pliers! While the idea might seem like a quick fix, “Can you die from pulling an infected tooth?” is a legitimate question with an unexpectedly intricate response.

This blog dives deep into the world of infected teeth, exploring the risks of DIY tooth extraction and the potential complications that can arise. We’ll also explore the signs of a spreading infection and when to seek professional help immediately.

What happens if you pull a tooth while infected?

Before we delve into the dangers, let’s understand what happens when you pull an infected tooth. A healthy tooth has a hard outer shell (enamel) and a soft inner core (pulp) containing nerves and blood vessels. When bacteria invade the pulp, it becomes inflamed and infected, leading to the dreaded toothache.

Now, picture pulling out this infected tooth. While it might remove the source of pain temporarily, it creates an open wound in your mouth. This wound becomes a gateway for the bacteria to enter your bloodstream, potentially leading to serious complications throughout your body.

What are the symptoms of a tooth infection spreading to the brain?

While rare, a spreading tooth infection can reach your brain, causing a life-threatening condition called a brain abscess. Here are some warning signs to watch out for:

  • Severe and persistent headache
  • Fever and chills
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
  • Loss of consciousness

What are the symptoms of a tooth infection spreading to the body?

A spreading tooth infection can also travel through your bloodstream and infect other parts of your body. Symptoms to be aware of include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath (signs of heart infection)
  • Difficulty speaking and vision problems (signs of brain infection)

What Complications Does A Tooth Infection Cause That Can Kill You?

While death from a tooth infection is very rare in modern times due to advances in medicine, it’s still crucial to seek dentist help. Here are some of the deadly complications that can arise from a neglected tooth infection:

  • Sepsis: This is a life-threatening condition that occurs when your body’s response to infection injures its own tissues and organs.
  • Endocarditis: This is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or heart valves.
  • Ludwig’s Angina: This is a rapidly spreading infection of the tissues under the tongue and floor of the mouth that can block your airway.

What Are The Risk Factors That Cause Complications?

Certain factors can increase the risk of complications from a tooth infection. These include:

  • Weakened immune system: People with conditions like HIV/AIDS, diabetes, or undergoing chemotherapy are more susceptible to severe infections.
  • Pre-existing heart conditions: A damaged heart valve can be more easily infected by bacteria from a tooth infection.
  • Delaying dental care: The longer you wait to treat an infected tooth, the higher the risk of complications.


While it may seem unlikely, the truth is that a tooth infection can escalate into a life-threatening situation if left untreated. From sepsis to brain abscesses, the potential complications of a tooth infection are nothing to scoff at. That’s why it’s essential to prioritize your oral health and seek prompt treatment if you suspect you have a tooth infection. By practicing good oral hygiene, addressing dental issues promptly, and making regular visits to the dentist in Beaverton is crucial for maintaining oral health, you can reduce your risk of complications and protect your overall health. Remember, when it comes to your teeth, prevention is key. Don’t wait until it’s too late—take action to safeguard your smile and your life.