Dentist Questions Teeth, And Gum Care

Can an infected tooth spread the infection to the other teeth as well?

I have been diagnosed with a tooth infection and have been recommended antibiotics to combat the infection before further review. Is there a chance that the infection can spread to my other teeth as well? What can I do to facilitate early healing?

28 Answers

Yes, infection can spread if untreated. Have the infected tooth treated.
Usually not. It is rare, but I have seen infection spread to other teeth.
Yes, an infection can spread in the mouth as it does with any other part of the body. Taking your antibiotic as directed will be the first step in treating the infection. However, the cause of the infection must be addressed as well.
An infected tooth will not spread to other teeth; however what caused the tooth to become infected can affect other teeth. Tooth decay can be prevented; so if you have cavities you better find out why and stop the bad habit.
Absolutely the infection can spread. You need to seek treatment to have it taken care of.
Dr Palluck
Infection can spread and affect the bone surrounding other teeth causing them to become compromised. Infection can also spread to adjacent tissue. It is important to have the infection and cause of the infection treated as soon as possible. A visit to your dentist or oral surgeon will allow them to diagnose and offer treatment solutions.
If you have an infection that needs antibiotics prior to working on the tooth, you most likely are either needing a root canal or an extraction. The reason the antibiotics are being prescribed is to make your experience better because the anesthetic used will work more effectively than if the infection is in the full blown stage. As far as spreading to other teeth. All infections can spread because all teeth are connected. The best way to facilitate early healing is to do what your doctors is advising at the time.
An infection is a bacteria or other foreign substance invading the body. A 'tooth infection' can mean different things to different people, depending on where the bacteria have invaded. In the worst case, a 'tooth infection' is an acute abscess where the bacteria have entered the jawbone and cause pain, swelling, pus, and blood. Without treatment, it can lead to sepsis (flu-like symptoms), airway closure, and death. A less severe type of 'tooth infection' occurs when the bacteria are in the inside dentin layer of the tooth or have invaded the gums. If you were prescribed an antibiotic, I'm assuming you have an abscessed tooth or a more progressed type of gum infection. The type of bacteria that cause these infections can spread to other areas of your mouth, however, it takes time for the bacteria to cause substantial destruction at the new locations. I would focus on the area of concern and be less worried about the destruction these bacteria might cause elsewhere at this time. Giving an antibiotic to help with the acute infection until you are able to get in for further review is fairly typical. To facilitate healing, take your antibiotic to completion as prescribed, take care of yourself, get adequate rest, brush and floss daily, and follow up with treatment. The antibiotic can get rid of the pain for a short period of time, but the only way to definitively treat a tooth infection is with dental treatment. Good Luck!
If it was due to cavity the adjacent teeth can also get decay.
There is a chance that the infection can spread to other teeth, depending on how bad the infection is. The tooth is the source of the infection and either needs a root canal or removal. It is not something you want to wait too long for.

Thank you,
Dr. Joshua M. Ignatowicz DMD
Yes it can. The infection must be treated and gotten under control. Treatment will be discussed with your dentist following an X-ray examination.
If a tooth infection is left unchecked to grow...It is possible for it to spread to a neighboring tooth. That would not happen overnight, but it is possible. With an aggressive active infection, I recommend starting on antibiotics for 5-7 days, then returning to treat the cause of the infection. This is either a root canal or an extraction. With the infection calmed down after 5-7 days of antibiotics, you are more able to get fully numb for the determined procedure, and you still have a few more days of antibiotics left to facilitate the healing process.
An infection in your jaw from a tooth can be serious if left untreated. Depending on your situation the infection could be periodontal (referring to the bone and gums), or from the nerve of the tooth itself. Your dentist can diagnose the cause of the infection and you should have it treated. If left unchecked it could spread in your jaw and even to your face and head and cause more serious problems. The antibiotic will start to diminish the infection and possibly make it feel better but until the cause of the infection is treated, it could come back again. You need to remove the focal point of the infection, or what is causing it. Please follow up with your dentist promptly.
Typically, if a single tooth is abscessed, or infected, there is a reason due to either a large cavity or a crack into the pulp. This type of infection will not spread to other teeth, but if the infection gets bad enough, it can affect other teeth in the area or even on the opposite arch. A periodontal infection, or an infection caused by the advance of periodontal disease can start spreading to other teeth, if not treated. I always advise to have the affected tooth treated as soon as possible.
Fortunately, teeth infections do not spread to adjacent teeth, however, gum infections around a tooth could spread to adjacent teeth
The infection doesn't typically "spread" to other teeth. However, other teeth can be affected symptomatically if they are in the immediate adjacent area if there is swelling, which could make other teeth sore or even slightly mobile. Addressing the source of the infection, will eliminate any issues that were affecting the other teeth. Now, that being said, a tooth infection many times is the result of tooth decay. If there is decay on multiple teeth, & they are not treated, those can eventually become infected as well, once the decay has gotten deep enough that it is causing infection in the nerve of the tooth.

Follow your dentist's recommendations, take all of your antibiotics as directed & return to your dentist for follow up care to eliminate the source of the infection. If you do not return for follow up treatment, the infection will return & make future treatment more complicated.
There is always possibility of infection becoming larger and extend to adjacent teeth. The bone loss due to infection can make teeth loose and if not treated you may loose teeth. In case of tooth infection you should take antibiotics according to severity of infection and your allergy history.Always remember tooth infection always comes back even after taking antibiotics if it is not treated accordingly.
It depends on the type of infection in your tooth. If it is the nerve of the tooth that is infected then it is extremely unlikely that the infection could spread. Periodontal infection is different. It is infection in the gums around the tooth and it can spread to adjacent teeth. Most likely the infection you are having is the first type of infection. It is very important that you take the antibiotic as directed and finish the entire course in order to prevent the infection from getting worse. If your nerve is infected, you will most likely need a treatment called root canal therapy. Taking antibiotics first can make this procedure easier.
It depends on what is causing the infection . If it is a gum infection around a tooth it can spread to other teeth . If is a tooth born infection such as an abcessed tooth they don't usually spread to other teeth until later stages. Any infection left untreated can spread to other teeth . You must eliminate the source of the infection and treat it . Then allow the colateral damage to heal . Establish drainage and possibly antibiotics .
Typically infections are contained to each tooth but overtime this bacteria can also become a problem for adjacent teeth but this cannot be predicted. The only way to impart any healing is to have definitive treatment which your dentist should be able to explain when you return after taking all of the medication. Please don’t stop the medication until it is completely gone.

Raymond L Wright III DDS MS
Yes, the bacteria will definitely start to infect the other teeth, soft tissue, airway, etc. with enough time.  The infection needs to be mechanically removed due to the fact that the bacteria have already eaten away the transport system (ie blood vessels) that would normally carry the antibiotics to the inside of the tooth.  Good oral hygiene such as flossing and brushing will help reduce the bacterial load in the mouth, but the infection will not go away with just antibiotics.  Get in to see your dentist to remove the source of the infection as soon as possible. Eric Buck, DDS5142 Blazer ParkwayDublin, OH 43017
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Treating the infection as soon as possible is the healthiest option.
The answer depends on what the source of the infection is. If the tooth has a root canal infection caused by decay or trauma, the infection generally will not infect other teeth. If the source of the infection is a periodontal, due to the presence of deep pockets around the teeth, the source of the bacteria can infect other teeth in the mouth. You need to see your dentist to determine the source. Antibiotics and either root canal or periodontal treatment is needed to allow healing to take place.
I can't give you definitive diagnosis without evaluating you. Antibiotics are delivered via blood vessels and necrotic/ dead teeth no longer possess viable blood vessels. Therefore, the antibiotic is only delivered to the surrounding tissue, but not to the source of the infection which is in the tooth. Root canal therapy is recommended as soon as possible. Antibiotics are only a temporary fix. Let us know if we can help. 7202217774
I strongly recommend seeing you dentist as soon as possible. Antibiotics cannot treat the underlying cause of the dental infection. It most likely will return and spread.

Adrian L. Patterson, DDS.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
A dental infection can spread to other areas in the mouth if not treated effectively. To prevent that, the cause of the infection much be treated properly and routinely monitored for any recurrence.
There are certain conditions in the mouth that can affect groups of teeth the transmittal of decay is usually buy local irritant called Dental plaque. If black is not removed by daily brushing and good hygiene it causes breakdown of the enamel leading to an infection that can affect groups of tea depending on local irritants and individual circumstances. This is why we tend to incur to floss one of the time and not in groups of teeth requiring extraction. The best method to ensure your best dental help is to get routine Dental check-ups every 6 months with your family dentist and keep the pace consistent over you course of your life
A dental abscess can spread to other root tips and infect them, but not on the short term. A dentist will usually prescribe antibiotics to control the infection and pain, while the patient is waiting for a dental visit to treat the tooth (by either root canal or extraction). This will usually be within a few weeks, so I wouldn't worry about it spreading during that time, especially if you are on the antibiotic.