Tales from the Operatory Part V: Hugo Boss and Tooth Abscesses

Having a tooth abscess is nothing to ignore besides the pain it can induce.   A tooth abscess is a bacterial infection of the tooth. They occur when bacteria enter the dental pulp through a cavity, chip, or crack in the tooth, and spread all the way down to the root. Abscesses are usually the result of an untreated dental cavity or injury, which is why it’s important to seek treatment quickly if you ever experience dental trauma.

So, why do we mention Hugo Boss, the luxury fashion designer in this tale?  In 1948, he died from a tooth abscess which in simple terms is a collection of bacteria-filled pus. The designer suffered from this tooth-related disease that wasn’t given much medical attention.  This infection migrated to his bloodstream and became an untreatable infection resulting in his death. Muppets creator Jim Henson and Jethro Tull musician John Glascock are among the many who have died from an untreated tooth abscess. Luckily, as long as antibiotic treatment is administered swiftly, most patients will make a full recovery within 5 days.

The primary symptom of a tooth abscess is a severe, persistent, throbbing toothache that can radiate to the jawbone, neck, or ear, as well as tender, swollen lymph nodes under the jaw or in the neck. Patients may also experience fever or difficulty breathing and swallowing.

If you suspect you are developing a tooth abscess, it is important to see an emergency dentist immediately. If you have a fever and facial swelling, and cannot reach an emergency dentist, go to an emergency room. These symptoms usually indicate that the infection has spread deeper into your jaw and surrounding tissues, or even to other areas of your body. Even if the abscess ruptures, you will still need antibiotic treatment, as the infection may spread to your jaw and to other areas of your head and neck, causing conditions like sepsis or necrotizing fasciitis.

It is important to understand that a dental abscess can become life-threatening within just a few hours. Jim Henson, for instance, began to develop breathing issues at 2 a.m. on May 15th, 1990 and passed away two hours later. X-rays showed multiple abscesses in his lungs, which were thought to have originated from an aggressive tooth infection.

If you are experiencing pain caused by a cavity, cracked tooth, or other type of oral trauma, it is important to seek treatment as early as possible. An untreated crack, chip, or cavity can easily become a gateway for dangerous oral bacteria. If you don’t want to experience the symptoms described above, your best bet is regular oral healthcare and prompt, professional dental treatment. To schedule an appointment with our Columbia Dental dentists, call 860-645-0111.  We’ll treat you in one day, the same day, seven days a week.

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