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How did a Tooth Infection Lead to this Young Man's Death?

Vadim Knodratyuk was admitted to a Utah hospital for treatment but died on Mon.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) - A 26 year-old old father and husband passed away in on Monday after being admitted to a Utah hospital from complications suffered from a tooth infection.

"I was always waiting for him to like come home after trucking," said his wife Natalia Kondratyuk.  "I wouldn't see him for weeks and just that moment knowing that he's coming home, it just makes you happy."

As a truck driver 26 year-old Vadim Kondratyuk was use to traveling long distances across the country.  Being separated from his wife and daughters for long periods of time.

I told him to come home faster and he's like I know, I'm trying, and so, yea, he didn't get to make it home," Natalia said.

A tooth infection would lead to his death on Monday.  Kondratyuk had complained of a tooth infection long before he left for New York for a delivery on January 17th.  On his trip he stopped to see a dentist in Oklahoma.  There he got a cleaning and antibiotic treatment for the infection and began feeling better, but when he arrived in New York his pain returned and he began to have swelling in his face.  

On the return trip home he was accompanied by his brother.  As they made their way across the country he began feeling worse and they stopped in Utah where he was admitted to the hospital.  He died on Monday from complications sustained from the tooth infection.  

Dr. Joe Maio with Apex Dental says people sometimes don't realize how important it is to regularly schedule an appointment with their dentist.  

Education is the biggest key and so people are putting off the dental care because of finances, because of fear, there's a variety of reasons why they procrastinate the dentist," says Maio.  "Getting that preventative care so early on is so important because something so small can turn very rapidly into a very serious life-threatening situation -- very similar to this." 

He says, it's likely the problem had been there for an extended period of time.  At least six months-- a year, maybe even longer.  He says too often by the time people begin experiencing dental pain it's already too late. Which is why he says it's important to regularly see your dentist.  He adds often times they can catch the problem before it becomes painful.  But, once it gets into your blood stream it can become harder to treat.

"It can get into your lungs and spread to your brain.  People don't think it can cause these kinds of problems but it is," said  Dr. Maio.  "Unfortunately, it happens more commonly than we think."

According to Dr. Maio, over an 8-year study between 2000-2008 there were 66 cases across the country of people dying from complications from a tooth infection.  And during that same time period 60,000 people checked in to the emergency room for dental pain.

"Unfortunately, it gets neglected for so long that it starts to become problems and that infection and bacteria that's in those teeth can get into your blood stream and can cause death," he says.  

Kondratyuk, had just turned 26 years-old.  He missed celebrating his birthday at home and his wife had purchased flowers to give to him when he got home.  Now, those flowers will be used at his funeral.  

"He was a sweet guy, it's really sad to see him go," said his wife Natalia.

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