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Are Rotten Teeth Dangerous? 

Rotten teeth are usually badly decayed teeth. They may be dangerous for your general health and carry the risk of losing the affected teeth. In rare cases, rotten teeth could be life threating causing death. Rotten teeth might also cause pain and social embarrassment if they show when you smile. Using minty chewing gum or cool mint breath strips only mask the rotten teeth problem and never a solution.  Your Los Angeles dentist, Dr. Khalifeh at the Museum Dental Center will be discussing rotten teeth causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment options.

Rotten Teeth Q & A

Rotten Teeth Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment explained by your #1 Los Angeles and Beverly Hills dentist.

What are the Causes of Rotten Teeth?

Rotten teeth are caused by dental plaque sticking to your teeth enamel, above all, bacteria in dental plaque when left for long time without brushing and flossing your teeth may cause tooth decay and gum disease. While dental plaque is the main cause of teeth decay, the following are important contributing factors to tooth decay:

  1. Excessive sugar consumptionEating sugary food, food rich in starch or drinking beverages rich in sugar such as Coke. Sugar will be fermented by the dental plaque bacteria producing acid that soften your enamel and progress to actual decay. People with sweet tooth syndrome are more likely to get rotten teeth if they don’t control their oral hygiene.

  1. Dry mouthSaliva has antibodies that protect your teeth and gums from bacteria and other microbes. Tooth decay is more likely to happen whenever you have a dry mouth. Dry mouth is expected to occur as we get older, but it can be caused by radiation therapy, Salivary glands disease,  medications and autoimmune diseases.

  1. StressStress may play an important role in suppressing the immune system and reducing the salivary flow. This will make your teeth more susceptible to decay and gum disease.

  1. Bottle milkIf a child falls asleep with a milk bottle especially when the milk or formula is sweetened by sugar, this might cause generalized rotten teeth. A condition known as rampant tooth decay in kids.

What are the Symptoms of Rotten Teeth?

A rotten tooth might cause no symptom, however if you have a rotten tooth you might have:

  1. Toothache and painTooth pain can be sharp shooting pain stimulated by cold, throbbing pain, pain while chewing or dull continuous pain. Above all, pain also can be felt as jaw pain, earache, eye pain or headache.

  1. Sensitivity to cold or hot temperature. For instance, sensitivity to temperature that lasts 1-5 seconds may be easily managed by cleaning the decay and filling the tooth. However, the longer the wait time without treatment, the closer the tooth to need root canal treatment or tooth extraction.

  1. Swelling on the gum or the faceThe swelling is usually very painful to palpate. However, abscess material called pus will be filling the swollen tissue. The skin over the swelling area feel wormer compared to the rest of the body.

  1. Dark colored toothRotten teeth might show a change in color. The look gray, brown, or black. Above all, a dark-colored tooth might indicate a necrotic dead tooth nerve. Similarly, a dark colored tooth could be a reflection of the rotten tooth structure.

  1. Tooth Abscess with a feeling of larger toothThe tooth feels higher than the adjacent teeth when you bite because the abscess is pushing the root away from the bone.

  1. Limited mouth opening. In other words, not being able to open the mouth as wide as usual. When a decayed tooth gets infected, the infection might spread to the adjacent spaces between the chewing muscles. In conclusion, this creates a condition called trismus which restricts the mouth opening.

  2. Bad breath or halitosisBad breath may be associated with many local and systemic conditions. Decayed or rotten teeth are among the most common local cause of bad breath.

  1. Having bad taste in the mouthDecayed teeth can produce chemicals that taste badly. COVID-19 is known to cause loss of taste and smell in some patients, however, a bad taste in your mouth may be caused by rotten teeth.

What are the complications of having Rotten Teeth?

  1. Tooth drop or lose. A tooth with very big cavity might not be saved. In other words, extraction may be the best solution for some rotten teeth.
  2. Sepsis, for instance bacteria coming from the rotten tooth reach the bloodstream and travel to different parts of the body. In other words, patients with compromised immune system, might get septic shock which may be deadly.
  3. Meningitis and clotting in the brain cavernous sinuses which might be deadly too.
  4. Death, although very rare, many reported death cases were associated with non-treated rotten teeth. However, this is more likely to happen in patients with weak immune system. 

In case you are worried about how to fix rotting teeth, contact #1 dentist in Los Angeles, Dr. Khalifeh at the Museum Dental Center.

How to Prevent Tooth Decay?

While treating rotten teeth could be costly, preventing tooth decay is very simple.

  1. It starts by maintaining good oral hygiene habit throughout your life. In other words, you need to brush and floss your teeth daily and regularly using the right tools.
  2. Regular checkup visits to your dentist. Although dentists recommend dental checkup twice a year, some patients who are at high risk of getting cavities or gum disease need more frequent visits.
  3. Eat Healthy diet and reduce sticky sugary foods and drinks intake.
  4. Keep your mouth moist. Tooth decay are more commonly found in people with dry mouth. If you have dry mouth, try to find the causes of your dry mouth and fix. Your saliva can protect you from getting rotten teeth. Therefore, drinking more water may be all what you need to do. Dr. Khalifeh is an expert in treating dry mouth syndrome in los Angeles.
  5. Use fluoride mouth rinse and fluoride toothpaste. Topical fluoride use proven to be safe and protective against tooth decay.

What are the Treatment Options for Tooth Decay?

For best results early treatment is recommended. A wide range of treatment options are available for treating rotten teeth depending on your tooth condition.

  1. Dental filling after cleaning the tooth decay. This option is ideal for rotten teeth that have mild to moderate size decay lesions.
  2. Root canal treatment. A badly damaged decayed tooth might require a root canal treatment to be saved.
  3. Tooth Extraction. Some rotten teeth are beyond repair. Removing the unrestorable tooth and replacing it with a dental implant or fixed bridge might be the best solution.
  4. Porcelain crowns, Inlays or onlays. Decayed teeth that lost considerable amount of healthy tooth structure may be saved by restoring them with crowns, inlays or onlays.

For over 25 years, Dr. Mohammad Khalifeh, DDS, MS at the Museum Dental Center. is helping patients with rotten teeth in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, Park La Brea, Larchmont Village, Santa Monica, and the rest of California.

Our address: SAG-AFTRA Plaza, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite #5, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Tel: (323) 933-3855

Rotten Teeth Pictures

Photo of ugly decayed teeth, Museum Dental Center
Upper front tooth with big cavity, Photo by Dr. Khalifeh
Discolored lower front teeth because of decay, Dr. Khalifeh Los Angeles Dentist
rotten teeth treatment, Los angeles,CA
rotten teeth picture, Museum Dental Center
Rotten Lower Teeth, Museum Dental Center

2 thoughts on “Are Rotten Teeth Dangerous?”

  1. Although it is not an immediate danger, dentists strongly advise that leaving rotten teeth untreated can result in blood poisoning. This occurs because the rot from the teeth continues to accumulate in the mouth and, in most cases, is swallowed along with saliva.

    1. Hello James,
      Thank you for your comment. Bacteria that is swallowed mostly will be killed by your stomach strong acid content (Hydrochloric acid). Bacteria from a rotten tooth may travel to the blood stream directly using the tooth pulp or the gingival tissue surrounding the tooth. This more likely to happen when the tooth is abscessed.

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