Straight Teeth Talk: An infected tooth can kill you

By Mac Lee
Aug. 6, 2013 at 3:06 a.m.

Believe it or not, I recently surgically removed a highly infected tooth from a very sick patient.

The public needs to know that infected teeth can be fatal. It may not be something people like to talk about, but this subject cannot be ignored.

Spreading infection

Science has proven for years that infections from the mouth travel to other parts of the body, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, newly placed valves, organ transplants and joint implants.

Some infected teeth have a balloon/sponge looking ball at the end of the intact root. This is a full-blown tooth abscess or an infection, which is very dangerous and serious. The body will reject this tooth due to its infection.

This ball will leak bacteria and pus into the blood stream, which allows the infection to roam all over the body via blood vessels, giving it free access to every part of the body.

The bacterium sticks to the cell walls of blood vessels and valves and to organs. There it can grow, cause obstructions or break off to be implanted somewhere else.

In some rare cases, the infection can go to the brain or heart, which can cause death. And like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, the warning sign is not always pain.

If you want to see a YouTube video of just how serious this can be, go to YouTube and search for "Infected Teeth Dr. Mac Lee."or go to

Importance of checkups

Even though infections are considered medical, only a dentist can diagnose and treat them. Antibiotics will not and cannot make this go away.

Yes, I know - it takes time, energy and money to go to the dentist. Yes, I know - it is summertime; you may be going on vacation; you've got kids in school; or you can't stand going to the dentist.

These are not excuses. They are realities, but the truth be known, an infection like this doesn't know or care what your realities are.

Please, pick up the phone and call a dentist you trust and simply ask for a thorough dental exam. There are no shots, drilling or anything really dental in the complete exam, so fear should not be an excuse.

Dr. Mac Lee practices in Edna. He is a international speaker to dentists and is an adviser to Dr. Mehmet Oz. To learn more, visit or call 361-782-7191.



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