Yes, a tooth abscess can kill a dog.

Dental health is vital for systemic health.

Dental problems can have devastating outcomes.

Let’s find out what causes one of the scariest situations in your pet’s dental health.

Stay with us and learn how to prevent it.

Can a Tooth Abscess Kill a Dog?

  • Untreated Tooth Abscess Dangers
  • Tooth Root Abscess Issues
  • Consequences of Infected Tooth

Untreated Tooth Abscess Dangers

Abscesses can be easy to notice if you do daily dental care.

They are harder to spot if they’re on the root, but there are symptoms for that too.

This is the case for untreated patients.

An abscess is a pus-filled pocket in a tissue.

It can appear in any part of the body.

The pus contains dead and live white blood cells.

They come from lymph nodes and tackle the bacteria.

All these cells form the pus and give it a tangy smell and taste. [1]

If left untreated, it can contaminate the blood.

This leads to septicemia, a deadly condition.

It’s also known as blood poisoning.

The first symptom you’ll notice is a change in behavior and eating.

The pain will lead your pet to avoid food.

This can cause weight loss and affects the quality of life.

An abscess can cause damage to the surrounding tissue, not just the tooth.

Gingivitis and periodontal disease are connected to abscesses. [2]

The bacteria from the abscess can spread to other organs.

In the heart, it can cause endocarditis, which can be fatal.

It can spread to the liver, kidneys, and the brain too. [3]

After it damages the jaw bone and surrounding tissue, it can lead to tooth loss.

This is because one of the best treatments for an abscess is extraction.

Abscesses rarely rupture.

In these cases, it can lead to a fistula.

These are more common in skin abscesses.

Tooth abscesses treatments can cost a lot.

This is why it’s important to know how to prevent it.

It will save your pet and your wallet.

Tooth Root Abscess Issues

Normal Tooth RootAbscessed Tooth Root
White colorMild to severe discoloration (Yellow, Brown or Black)
Pink gums above itRed and irritated gums, painful to touch
Normal breathHalitosis or bad breath
Normal lymph nodesSwollen lymph nodes closest to tooth
No breaks in teethBroken or chipped tooth
Normal temperatureFever
Normal appetiteLower appetite due to pain
Little to no plaqueHigher chance of plaque
Looks normal and compact on X-rayLooks spongy on X-ray

Once an abscess affects the root, there is more trouble.

An example of that is carnassial tooth abscess in dogs.

This means that the bacteria have reached the root of the tooth.

The immune system is responding in full force. [4]

The abscesses range in size depending on the length of the process.

The sooner you spot it, the better.

One peculiar sign shows in dogs with carnassial tooth abscesses.

It’s caused by trauma, chewing hard objects, or bacteria from periodontal disease.

A patient with this diagnosis has a sore beneath the eye.

The surrounding tissue is swollen.

The sore can also be drained.

An x-ray is needed to see if it’s connected to a tooth.

The only treatment is the extraction of the tooth.

The bleeding and swelling subsides in a few days. [5]

Consequences of Infected Tooth

An infected tooth can be the beginning of many issues.

It can start with gingivitis and periodontitis.

These can have similar symptoms as an abscess.

They can also be the cause of it. [6]

If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss or forced extraction.

In many cases, it can lead to a sinus infection as well. [7]

An infected tooth can cause many systemic problems and immune responses.

A fever can be a consequence.

This goes hand in hand with lethargy and lack of appetite.

The side effects of dogs’ bad teeth can vary.

This is mostly dependent on the immune system, and age is connected as well. [8]

Recognizing Dog Tooth Abscess Symptoms

  • Infected Dog Tooth Signs
  • Dog Tooth Abscess Criteria
  • Gum and Teeth Indications

Infected Dog Tooth Signs

Infected teeth can have many signs.

The symptoms may seem broad at first.

Whenever your pet is acting sick, make sure to check their mouth.

This goes especially when they lose their appetite and start pawing their nuzzle.

The best way to find out if something is wrong is to compare.

Pictures of dog teeth with problems are very helpful in those situations.

Your pet feels pain and discomfort.

It can lead to decreased appetite.

This is the most obvious sign for the owner.

If you check their mouth, you may also see swelling and oral malodor. [9]

Some dogs drool.

This can be hard to notice in breeds like Saint Bernards or Newfoundlands.

Drooling can also be caused by other problems.

Don’t base a tooth problem on that symptom only. [10]

Dog tooth extraction complications symptoms are similar.

Keep that in mind if your pet doesn’t go back to normal for a few days after the procedure.

Dog Tooth Abscess Criteria

Tooth Abscess signs

Swollen and red gums

Puss-filled pocket on gums

Pain and discomfort

Lack of appetite

Plaque or tartar on teeth below swelling

Discolored tooth or dying tooth

Oral malodor

The abscess itself is obvious if it’s not on the root.

Redness and swelling may indicate a start of an abscess.

If it’s located in a specific spot, keep an eye on it.

If it’s an abscess, it will appear after a few days.

Extraction complications are similar to those of an abscess.

It seems like the symptoms continue even after the extraction.

Wait a few days after extraction to see if there is another problem.

If your dog is getting better, then there is no need to worry.

If not, take them for another checkup at the vet.

Gum and Teeth Indications

When dealing with an abscess, it’s normal for the gums to be red and swollen.

The puss-filled pocket is also visible.

This area is a source of pain and discomfort.

Dogs will be hesitant to you touching them.

The teeth are discolored, and the color can vary.

This is dependent on the length of the process.

If left untreated, the tooth will turn black.

This means that the tooth is dead. [11]

If you ask yourself what to do if your dog’s teeth fall out when it’s dead, the answer is simple.

Always call your vet for a check-up.

Causes of Tooth Abscess in Dogs

  • Reasons for Dog Tooth Abscess
  • Tooth in Dogs Problems
  • Dental Complications

Reasons for Dog Tooth Abscess

To the bottom of the problem, we need to know what caused it.

If we know the cause, we can prevent the process from happening.

The causes of tooth toot abscesses are important.

By knowing them, you can stop them from happening.

Most of the reasons for dog tooth abscesses are connected to overall dental care.

Periodontal disease can expose the root.

If left untreated, tartar will build on the tooth.

This leads to gum disease and their receding.

With receding, the root becomes exposed to bacteria. [12]

Decaying or broken teeth can lead to an open pulp.

If the pulp is infected, pulpitis occurs. [13]

Foreign objects stuck between the teeth can damage the gums.

Gingivitis and cavities can follow.

After that, pulpitis can develop.

The infection can once again get to the root.

Malocclusion or retained baby teeth can lead to overcrowding.

This leads to gingivitis and an exposed root. [14]

Tooth in Dogs Problems

Common Dog Tooth ProblemsCauses Treatment
Gingivitis Infection, usually from tartarDental cleaning
Periodontal diseaseInfection following gingivitisDental cleaning
Chipped or broken teethTrauma or chewing on hard-chewing toys.Extraction or root canal
Tooth abscessBacterial infectionExtraction or root canal
Tooth root abscessBacterial infectionExtraction or root canal

The bad teeth can sometimes remind us of other problems.

As owners, we sometimes forget that a fever can come from a tooth problem.

We suspect others, more or less serious.

Dental Complications

Complications can occur with every operation.

Complications vary depending on the patient.

Age and immunity are a big factor.

They rarely occur after extraction or root canal therapy.

If a complication occurs, the symptoms are similar to those before the operation.

If they don’t stop in a week after extraction, call your vet. [15]

How to Diagnose a Tooth Abscess in Dogs

  • Veterinary Consultation Relevance
  • Dental Examination Significance
  • Tooth Infection Diagnosis.

Veterinary Consultation Relevance

Consulting with a professional is always good.

A veterinarian can spot something you might be missing.

Dental Examination Significance

When doing a dental examination, your vet will look for irritation and inflammation.

They will also look for foreign bodies as a potential cause.

When dealing with a dog tooth abscess, it’s important to know the differential diagnosis.

This will differentiate the actual disease and other conditions. [16]

Tooth Infection Diagnosis

Diagnostic process for tooth abscess

Oral exam: checking for characteristic changes

X-ray: for a detailed view

Cat scan: optional

Before an oral exam, your vet will ask you about the dog’s dental history.

This is very important.

Knowing the dog’s history will help the vet determine the cause of the problem.

Therapy will be prescribed for prolonged symptoms.

If there was no extraction, your vet can do an X-ray or cat scan of the jaws and see if there is a more serious problem.

Tooth Abscess Treatment for Dogs

  • Veterinarian Role in Treatment
  • Abscess Tooth Management
  • Procedures in Tooth Abscess Treatment

Veterinarian’s Role in Treatment

It’s important to have dental checkups regularly.

The vet’s experience may help detect a condition before the symptoms become serious.

Abscess Tooth Management

After diagnosis, your vet may drain the abscess to lower the pressure.

This helps the pet a little.

This is done until the time for surgery comes.

Daily cleaning is recommended at this stage to avoid further contamination.

Procedures in Tooth Abscess Treatment

What are the steps to treatment?



Root canal


The two available and most effective treatment options.

They are root canal therapy and extraction.

Root canal therapy involves the removal of the pulp.

After the removal, the sight is sterilized.

The removed tissue is replaced with dental material. [17]

The easier treatment option is extraction.

Extraction is easier and cheaper.

The whole tooth is removed.

After that, the gums are stitched.

The healing is done after 10-14 days. [18]

Keep that in mind if your pet doesn’t go back to normal for a few days after the procedure.

Preventing Tooth Abscess in Dogs

  • Precautions Against Tooth Abscess
  • Importance of Dog Care
  • Preventing Root Tooth Infections

Precautions Against Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess can lead to many complications.

They can affect other teeth as well.

Check the surrounding gum of that tooth.

If there is a bad smell and puss, take your pet to the vet.

Do the same if the tooth is broken, but the root stays.

Emergency surgery may be needed.

This can save your pet’s life

Importance of Dog Care

Dental care is important for humans and pets alike.

As an owner, you are the only one that can help teething pain.

Preventing them from being in pain with dental care is easy.

Make sure to train your dogs from a young age.

This will make them easier to manage in later life

Preventing Root Tooth Infections

Strategies Importance and benefits
Daily brushing This will prevent plaque and tartar from building. It will stop any type of infection.
Catching an infection Check your dog’s gums daily for irritation or inflammation. If spotted-take them to the vet
Chew toys Similar to brushing, it gets rid of plaque. It should not be a replacement for brushing
Professional cleaning at least once a year Dental work is needed because brushing doesn’t get rid of 100% of the plaque. This will relieve pressure on the dog’s gums.

Follow the steps to preventing tooth abscesses.

You prevent infections to the root the same way.

If a process occurs, your vet will suggest surgery.

After surgery, keep a close eye on your dog.

Complication symptoms can easily occur.

What Happens if a Dog’s Tooth Abscess Is Left Untreated?

If a dog’s tooth abscess is left untreated, life-threatening consequences are possible.

The bacteria from the puss can enter the blood.

This leads to septicemia.

The contaminated blood can cause problems in other organs too.

How Serious Is a Dog Tooth Abscess?

A dog tooth abscess is very serious.

An untreated abscess can lead to systemic issues.

The bacteria from the abscess can affect other tissues and organs through the blood.

The presence of bacteria in the blood causes septicemia.

That is the leading cause of death from a tooth abscess.

Can a Dog Live With a Tooth Abscess?

No, a dog can not live with a tooth abscess.

The risk of leaving a tooth abscess untreated is serious.

The condition is deadly.

As soon as you notice some warning signs, we advise visiting a vet.