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Risks of Leaving a Broken Tooth Untreated


A broken tooth is not an injury which should be dismissed lightly. Indeed, leaving a broken tooth untreated is to risk aggravating a relatively minor condition and turning it into something which, in a worst-case scenario, could be potentially life-threatening. Do not wait for the worst to happen.

Expressed in straightforward terms, if a broken tooth is left untreated then further deterioration becomes inevitable. In this regard, the most serious risk involves the spread of infection. If harmful bacteria, for example, gain access to the softer inner part of the tooth, it becomes possible that an abscess could form.

An untreated abscess represents a significant threat to an individual’s overall health. The reason being that the infection behind the abscess can spread and develop into a number of conditions including;


If the infection spreads into the bloodstream it can cause sepsis and potentially affect the entire body. In addition to causing heart attacks and strokes, on occasion sepsis can also prove fatal.


Since the tooth roots are effectively encased in the jawbone, in the case of an untreated abscess it follows that those bones would be susceptible to infections such as osteomyelitis. If ignored, osteomyelitis can eventually lead to the death of the infected bone tissues.

Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis

Cavernous sinus thrombosis is a type of blood clot which forms at the base of the skull. It can lead to stroke, blindness, brain infection, or death.


leaving a broken tooth untreated

If an abscess forms in the upper teeth, then the physical proximity to the sinuses, means that, if left untreated, the infection could develop into sinusitis.

The risk of an abscess developing into something more serious is heightened if the patient has a weakened immune system or has low standards of personal hygiene.

Other Risks

In addition to the risks posed by the spread of infection, there are also a number of other less serious complications associated with an untreated broken tooth. Increased sensitivity to pressure may become apparent as a result of the tooth’s nerve becoming exposed. The affected tooth may become more sensitive to temperature and make it uncomfortable to eat or drink. Additionally, the broken tooth may have a serrated edge and as such represent a cutting hazard to the tongue and cheek.

What To Do

It’s strongly recommended that an individual should visit their dentist and receive the appropriate professional care for a broken tooth. Treatment may involve tooth extraction, root canal, crown placements, or filling.

On the other hand, leaving a broken tooth untreated invites a host of potential complications, which range from the relatively benign to the potentially life-threatening.

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