Can cavities have any complications?

Cavities left untreated can lead to abscessed teeth and facial infections. An abscessed tooth can be treated with a root canal or an extraction. A facial infection can be treated with antibiotics and may require lancing. An untreated facial infection can lead to a brain abscess which may lead to death. Seeing your dentist and having your tooth filled can prevent these complications.

Peggy Rosen

At the beginning, the cavities are small, you may not feel any discomfort.  Later, without treatment from the dentist, the cavities become larger and deeper create complications such as:

  • Bad bacteria spread throughout other parts of your body
  • Infection to the bone and gums
  • Have difficulty chewing
  • Pain
  • Bad breath; foods remain inside the cavities become rotten

If cavities are left untreated, they can lead to many complications. One common complication of an untreated root cavity is an infection at the root that creates pus and severe pain while chewing or even biting down. Other serious complications are tooth loss by extraction, issues with chewing in the future, and broken teeth. Cavities that are not treated early or at all can lead to severe pain, which may cause other problems in your life such as eating, sleeping, or going to work.

Continue Learning about Cavities


Cavities are tiny holes in your teeth that have developed from decay. Left untreated, cavities will get larger, and can cause toothache and possible loss of teeth. Anybody can get a cavity, but you put yourself at greater risk if ...

you don't brush regularly, or frequently consume sweets or sugary drinks. Your dentist can help prevent cavities with fluoride treatments, and can find them by taking pictures (X-rays) of the teeth. Once found, the dentist may treat your cavity with a filling or if extensive, with a crown. If there has been an extensive infection, other treatments, including antibiotics or a root canal surgery may be indicated.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.