I saw a dentist two weeks ago for a tooth that was infected. He has me on two antibiotics. I was getting better and then three days ago, it started to get worse again. Now I am swollen up to my eye. Am I on the wrong antibiotic?
I am hoping there was a miscommunication between you and your dentist. Antibiotics alone will not treat a tooth infection. Their purpose is two-fold. First, they are used to get an infection under more control until the actual treatment is done. Second, they can hold off the infection for a short time while you wait for your appointment. Is it possible your dentist said you needed to schedule a follow-up appointment and you forgot about that part? If not, your dentist has a fundamental lack of understanding about tooth infections. So fundamental, it makes me question how he graduated.
Treating a Tooth Infection
The way to treat a tooth infection is for the dentist to physically remove the infected tissue. There are two ways of accomplishing this. The first is with a root canal treatment. This is the ideal solution because it saves your tooth, especially the root which is extremely important.
The second option is to extract the tooth. I only recommend this when the tooth cannot be saved. Once a tooth is extracted, it needs to be replaced. Otherwise, the other teeth will shift and tip into its place, which can throw off your bite leading to a lifetime of jaw pain from TMJ Disorder.
You should be aware that infected teeth are considered a dental emergency. This is because the infection will spread until proper treatment is completed. I am especially concerned by the fact that you are swollen up to your eye. You do not want a tooth infection to reach your brain, heart, or lungs. If it does it will become life-threatening rather quickly. Believe it or not, people still die from tooth infections.
If Your Tooth Can’t Be Saved
Hopefully, a simple root canal treatment is all you need. If it is too late to save your tooth, you have two good options for a tooth replacement. The ideal replacement is to get a dental implant. If that is not possible or if one of your adjacent teeth happens to need a dental crown, then getting a dental bridge is another good option for you.
Please don’t put off getting this dealt with. Call the dentist who you originally saw and tell him you need a root canal treatment right away.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington, KY Dentist Dr. John Weaver.