Can a tooth be life threatening?

A tooth can be a threat to us in three different ways; in itself, via the pulp and the periodontal ligament, and when it is removed.

Using teeth as a biting tool may cause lethal bite wounds, but may also introduce bacteria into the tissues, and thereby infections.

The oral cavity is the entry to the gastrointestinal tract, to the airways, and to our immune system and has several defense mechanisms against infections. The local, oral bacteria are important in the defense against exogenous bacteria when in a hemostasis with the host, but may also act opportunistically and cause infections. Serious infections in teeth or jaws are rare after the introduction of antibiotics and improved oral care, but they can still be life threatening if not treated properly. Proper, clinical diagnosis and pus evacuation is of critical importance, and hospitalizing must be considered in serious cases.

Complications when removing the tooth is best avoided and handled through a thorough medical history and clinical examination. The operators’ clinical skills and expertise are important.