I’ve had a massive tooth infection and have been on antibiotics for about ten days. It had almost cleared up, but now it has blown back up and is even worse than before. Is it possible I was on the wrong antibiotics and that’s what’s going on or do I need to take them longer? Do I just call the dentist or the pharmacy?
I truly hope you have not told me everything because if all your dentist did was provide you with antibiotics, then he is being negligent in your care. A tooth infection, which is considered a dental emergency, is not treated with antibiotics. The reason for that is when a tooth infection sets in the tissue inside the tooth dies. Without blood flow, there is no way for the antibiotic to reach the infected pulp.
The use for antibiotics with dental infections is two-fold: First, it can be used if the dentist can’t get to you right away and wants to keep the infection from spreading until your appointment. A second reason to use them would be if the infection is so bad it is causing swelling and will keep the local anesthetic from working. In that case, you would use the antibiotic just to get things under control, the way yours did, and then you’d go in for the permanent treatment.
The Real Treatment for an Infected Tooth
There are only two effective ways to get rid of a tooth infection. The first is to remove the tooth. I am not advocating this as a treatment. Just saying it is more effective than antibiotics. I’d only recommend pulling a tooth as an absolute last resort. If for some reason you did have to pull the tooth, it is very important to replace it as soon as possible. If you don’t, the other teeth will drift or tip into the space, leading to a host of other problems. A dental implant is a great tooth replacement, if it comes to that.
Your second option is to get a root canal treatment. This will open the tooth allowing the dentist to clean out all the infected and dead tissue. Then the tooth is sealed so bacteria cannot get back in. Without one of these two options, your infection will return (as yours has).
Get in right away and have this infection dealt with.
This blog is brought to you by Huntsville Dentist Dr. Steve Murphree.