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Can a Dental Infection Cause a Fever?

I tried to schedule an emergency dental appointment for my daughter with her pediatric dentist because she said her tooth hurt. Because she had a fever as well, I assumed there was a dental infection there. My pediatric office sort of dismissed me and said that dental infections don’t cause fevers. Maybe I am missing something, but I was under the impression that any infection can be present with a fever?

Carla

Dear Carla,

Young girl in a dental chair smiling

While, technically, any infection can cause a fever, it is not a common symptom of a dental infection. That being said, I don’t think your pediatric dentist should have just blown you off. You were obviously worried about your daughter and there were some legitimate reasons to wonder if it had to do with a dental issue.

You didn’t say if it was her upper or lower teeth. Sometimes, when upper teeth are hurting and there is a fever present, the thing to check would be for a sinus infection. Our upper teeth are close to our sinus cavity, so it is not unusual for the pain to radiate to the mouth and for it to feel like the teeth are hurting.

It was wise for you to call. Dental infections can quickly turn into dental emergencies rather quickly. If your child’s dentist isn’t taking your concerns as a parent seriously, it is time to find a new dentist for her. There are general dentists who are good with children. That may be an option for you.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

Are All Dentists Sadists?

I am just going to be blunt. I have never had a pleasant dental experience. Here is the pattern. I go in. I get tortured and even have blood all over my dental bib. Not even numbing medication helps. I am too disgusted to go back again for a while and put it off. Then, I start feeling guilty for missing appointments and go in, this time to a different dentist. I get tortured… ad nauseum.

Here is my question. I need a bunch of work but don’t want to go to more appointments than is necessary. How much work can I get in during just one appointment? I figure I can just bring a flask of whiskey with me or something to steady my nerves and just grin and bear it.

Louis

Dear Louis,

Gilbert dental anxiety
Dental work can be intimidating…but there is a solution.

I’m sorry you have spent a lifetime having this trouble with dentists. Believe it or not, most dentists went into their field because they wanted to help people, not because they enjoy causing pain. My guess is there is a three-fold problem that is causing this cycle. We can go into that in a moment. First, I want you to know that there is a solution, so as I am going through this cycle, know there is hope.

First, early trauma. There is likely some point in your childhood where you had a frightening or painful dental appointment.

Second, anxiety. That early trauma set up a pattern of dental anxiety. This is a big deal because when a patient is anxious, it is actually harder for the numbing medication to work. The higher the anxiety, the faster the medication burns off.

Third, avoidance. The trauma and anxiety you’ve experienced keep you away from the dentist, which in turn allows for more buildup and problems with your teeth. This can lead to gum disease, which is painful to deal with and will bleed during your appointments, as well as large deposits that are harder to remove.

The solution is to get you relaxed enough for the numbing medication to effectively do its job. My recommendation, because of the severity of the experiences you’ve had, is to look for a dentist who offers dental sedation. You can do an internet search for one of the following terms to locate them:

In your case, I am going to recommend you find someone who specifically uses oral conscious sedation (OCS). Oral Conscious Sedation is administered by a pill. Don’t let that fool you, though. This pill is so strong that you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment, as well as, stay with you for a few hours while you get lucid and steady on your feet again. Because you are so comfortable and relaxed, you are most likely to sleep through your entire appointment. This works in your favor when you need a lot of work done because it allows you to get more work done in each appointment than you would normally be able to. This will help you catch up faster with oral health care.

I think you’ll find this simple step will completely change your experience with dentists.
This blog is brought to you by Gilbert, AZ Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

I Can Smell My Husband’s Dental Implants

My husband just received six dental implants for his implant overdenture. He is currently wearing a temporary acrylic denture while we have the porcelain ones made. The big problem is that I can literally smell his dental implants and it is making me gag. It almost smells like vomit. I’ve even had to start sleeping on the couch. I would like him to trade out the metal implants he has for the metal-free zirconia implants, but his dentist says there is no way what I am smelling is his implants. I think this dentist just does not want to admit the metal implants are outdated because he does not offer the zirconia ones and we’d have to go elsewhere to get them replaced. What can I tell my husband that will help him understand how far superior the newer ones are so he will be willing to replace them?

Jade

Dear Jade,

metal and zircomia dental implants

I can sense you are frustrated. The truth is, while there is something causing that smell, I don’t believe it is his dental implants. Titanium is inert, so it will not have a smell. I bet if you asked his dentist to allow you to smell one that he has in his office, he would let you. My guess is the smell is coming from something not getting completely cleaned out of his acrylic dentures. He’s probably got some food or bacteria trapped in there. There are a couple of options for dealing with this. He can get something like a Waterpik that will help him get more of the food out. He can also rinse with peroxide, which kills bacteria and debris. I do not recommend using the peroxide more than that or he could get a yeast infection. The peroxide will not distinguish between good and bad bacteria.

I also don’t think you want him to replace your husband’s dental implants unnecessarily. Here’s why. The implants will have to be surgically removed. When they are removed, they will take some bone structure with them. In order to replace them with new implants, he’ll need to first get new bone grafted into that area with a bone grafting procedure. Then, after that heals, he will need another surgery to have new implants placed. Then, another waiting period for the osseointegration to take place and finally his dentures.

That is a lot of unnecessary extra surgeries for your husband. Plus, you take a huge risk of the second group of implants not being successful. These are working. Get to the real cause of the smell and don’t go through all those unnecessary procedures.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.
Click here to read about sleep dentistry.

Dentist Won’t Remove My Tooth

I have been having a lot of dental work done. I recently had two root canals done. One of them has never felt quite right. I have a wisdom tooth that is infected and my dentist wants to remove it. I’m all for that. However, I also want to remove the tooth that had the root canal treatment. He won’t do it. I’m waiting until I can get both done. Is there anything I can say to convince him to take that tooth out?

Stacey

Dear Stacey,

A woman holding her jaw in pain

While I am sure you can find a dentist who would be willing to take out the extra tooth that you would like removed, I’m not sure you want to do that. If your dentist thought the tooth was infected, he would certainly take it out. After all, he would make more money taking out an extra tooth. So why is he saying no? The only reason I can think of is he has integrity and is not willing to take your money unnecessarily. In all honesty, I think that is something to be grateful for.

Please don’t put off getting that infected wisdom tooth removed. A tooth infection is serious and will spread. If you think about how close your jaw is to your heart, you do not want the infection reaching there. You are putting yourself in serious risk by holding out to try to convince him to do this other tooth.

If you still want to insist on having both removed, as I said earlier, I am sure you can find a dentist willing to take your money.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

Dentist Cut My Tongue; Shouldn’t I Get a Discount?

I had to have some dental work done. Three crowns in all. It was a horrible experience. He did give me nitrous oxide, but that did not really help. At some point, the dentist splashed some type of chemical in my eye, which burned like crazy. Then, his drill slipped and cut my tongue. Both he and the assistant gasped when it happened. And, I yelled because, obviously, that hurt a LOT. It’s been a couple of days and my tongue still hurts. I called to ask for a discount because of all the accidents he had. He just acted like none of it ever happened and said I probably bit my tongue because patients do that when they’re numb. Don’t I deserve an apology and a discount?

Steph

Dear Steph,

toothache

While you certainly deserve an apology and recognition of what happened, it appears your dentist is in defensive mode and is pretending what you said did not happen. That means you won’t get the apology or the discount unless you push it. There is not enough damage to warrant a lawsuit, but you could tell him you are going to write a negative review if he does not own up and take responsibility. That does have an impact on his business. Short of that, your only other option is to move on and find a different dentist.

If you do go with another dentist, I am going to suggest you find someone who offers dental sedation. You mentioned that the nitrous oxide didn’t help. Plus, with the number of accidents you had, I wonder if you weren’t wiggly. That’s not excusing what happened but would explain some of it. Both of those things together tell me that you have some dental anxiety. Plus, given this latest experience, you’ll have greater anxiety next time.

A dentist who offers sedation will have oral conscious sedation. This is a pill that you will take before your appointment. It is much stronger than nitrous oxide. In fact, you’ll probably find that you sleep through your entire appointment.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert, AZ Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

Premium Home Whitening Versus the Dentist

I want to whiten my teeth but I’ve been avoiding going anywhere with the surge of covid cases. I just feel like I need something to cheer me up. Looking online, one kit I see that has some positive reviews is Premium Home Whitening. How does this rank with what I’d get from my dentist? Will it actually whiten my teeth?

Gina

Dear Gina,

teeth whitening trays
Professional teeth whitening trays

I’ll start with the positive about this kit. The teeth whitening ingredient is valid and will whiten your teeth. So, if you decide to use this product and really stick with it, you could get some good results. That being said, I have some concerns.

Disadvantages to Premium Home Whitening

This first one I would not call a disadvantage as much as a red flag. The light they provide does nothing. It is simply a marketing ploy. Why not just sell the kit without it and lower the price. To me, that calls into question the integrity of the company and I’d wonder if the rest of what they list is true. For instance, is the whitening ingredient really the percentage they say it is?

The second is the whitening trays. These are not custom fit the way you would get with your dentist. Instead, you DIY them at home. This causes two problems with the whitening gel. Your saliva can get into the tray, which will weaken the strength of the gel. Now it will take more kits to do the same amount of work. In addition to that, your gel can leak from the tray. Not only does this further weaken the gel, but it puts your gums at risk of irritation. There have been cases where patients needed a root canal treatment as a result of an over-the-counter whitening kit because of this type of leakage.

My Recommendation

I would get your teeth whitening done with your dentist. In the long run, you should save money and it is safer. You mentioned concerns about COVID for not wanting to go in. Dentists are all taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of their patients, especially at this time. Something you could request is to ask to come at a time when they have fewer patients, that way you are not surrounded by as many people. Also, some patients have even requested they wait in their car and the receptionist just texts them when it is time to go back.

I hope this helped.
This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

Using a Cheap Alloy Instead of a Gold Crown

I have some sensitivities to metals and other dental materials. When I needed a root canal treatment and dental crown, I specifically asked my dentist to provide me with a gold alloy crown so I would have less to worry about. The root canal treatment turned out fine, but I’ve been having some swelling around the tooth. I asked to see the dental certificate and my dentist told me the lab did not send one. I requested him to get one and it turned out the materials were not what I requested. There was only 2% Gold. The rest was 35% Palladium, 30% Indium, 30% Silver, and 3% Zinc. I suspect this is why I am having some swelling, though my dentist insists there are never allergies to these materials. Am I wrong for being upset about this? I’m beginning not to trust him as the cost for the crown was in line with a gold alloy but I received something quite different. Where do I go from here?

Benjamin

Dear Benjamin,

identalloy certificate

I’m going to say up front that I do not believe your dentist did not receive the certificate. By law, the labs are required to send them and the dentist is supposed to place that in the patient’s chart. It appears he wanted to increase his profits by giving you a cheap substitute believing that you wouldn’t have a reaction. I have learned not to say there are NO allergies to something. Each human body is remarkably unique and there is always the possibility that someone will have an allergy to something, even if very rare.

For a dental crown to be considered a gold alloy, it has to meet two qualifications. First, it must be made of at least 60% of a combination of gold, platinum, palladium, and silver. Yours was above that number and meets the first qualification. Second, it must be at least 40% Gold. Yours was only 2%, which is well below the qualification.

I’m going to suggest you ask him to re-do the dental crown with the materials you requested. If he refuses, tell him you will report him to the dental board. He violated the standard of care in two ways. One by misrepresenting what he provided you and two by not having the certificate (or pretending not to). Then, I want you to find a different dentist. One you can trust.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.
Click here to learn how we keep our dentistry affordable.

My Husband is Being Tortured By Our Dentist

My husband had an accident that caused some damage to his chin and teeth, as well as gave him a concussion. We took him to the ER, then the dentist the next morning. The dentist said everything needed some time to calm down. When it did, one of his teeth started turning dark. Fortunately, he wasn’t in pain. Our dentist said she didn’t see anything and only felt dried blood. From there, she gave him a dental crown. Fast forward a couple of months and he was in severe pain. Our dentist then gave him an emergency root canal treatment. She prescribed him 5 days worth of antibiotics then finished up his root canal treatment a week later. Even after the root canal treatment, the pain continued. The dentist provided him with no pain relief medication. After another week she decided to root canal the tooth next to the one she previously treated. That also did nothing. My husband is in absolute agony and I feel like her lack of caring is border line torture. What should we do to get him the help he needs?

Lisa

Dear Lisa,

Man in pain, grabbing his cheek in need of emergency dental care.

Your husband has been through so much and I can tell how much you care about him. Your dentist has made a couple of big mistakes here. First, when the tooth first started to discolor, it needed a root canal treatment right then. I don’t know why your dentist didn’t do one. It makes no sense to me. The dried blood should have been a giant hint that the tooth was dead, even if the discoloration didn’t tell her that.

Next is the way she handled the root canal treatment itself. The way she provided only five days of antibiotics, but waited seven days to close the root canal tells me that she doesn’t understand how these infections work at all. By allowing the antibiotics to run out, she also allowed the infection to flair back up, then she closed the tooth. No wonder your husband was in pain. She never got rid of the infection and closed it up inside the tooth. Then, she did a useless treatment on the adjacent tooth.

Your husband is not being served well by this dentist. I highly recommend that you call an endodontist first thing in the morning. They are root canal specialists and can get this treated correctly. When you call, let them know what has happened so they can get him some antibiotics and pain relief while they get his appointment ready. I’m certain they’ll schedule him an emergency appointment.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

How to Know if a Tooth is Infected?

I am really confused and wondering if one dentist is incompetent or maybe one is just taking me for a ride? I went to the dentist and he told me I had a small cavity. He told me it would only need a small filling. We did the filling and then a few days later the tooth was very sensitive, especially to cold. I went back in and now he is telling me I need a root canal treatment. How can it go from small filling to root canal in such a short time? Is this tooth really infected or am I being taken for a ride?

Connie

Dear Connie,

toothache

I am suspicious of this and think you need a second opinion from someone who can examine you. If there is a tooth infection, an x-ray should show that pretty clearly. Sensitivity to cold could also be the result of a poorly done dental filling. I’m assuming you had a composite filling done. These can sometimes be tricky. If a dentist is used to placing silver fillings, he may not yet have the skills to place a composite filling yet.

One thing to notice is the senstivity. If it starts to happen even when you don’t have anything cold, that would be a concerning sign. In that case, I would get the root canal treatment. It is better to nip these things in the bud before an infection can spread.

If it is just the filling, just having that re-done by someone who understands the procedure for composites will solve the issue.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

Dentist Wants to Crown All My Teeth

I haven’t been to the dentist is seven years because of anxiety. I finally plucked up the courage because I was tired of being embarrassed by my yellow smile. I told him I wanted to clean them, make sure they’re healthy, and improve how they look. After the exam, which was discouragingly painful, he told me I have 5 cavities. In order to treat the cavities and improve my smile he wants to crown all my teeth. I feel weird about that because not only are the other teeth healthy, but this is quite an expense he is recommending. I don’t have much experience with dentistry. Is this my only option?

Cal

Dear Cal,

woman asleep in the dental chair from dental sedation

The short answer is no, this is not your only option. You are wise to be concerned. The first thing I want to do is address your anxiety and then we’ll talk about your options. It took a great deal of courage for you to go to the dentist. After such a long period, it would be easy to just find excuses not to go. You are certainly not alone in your dental anxiety.

There is dental sedation available for patients in your situation. They can give you a pill that will completely relax you. In fact, some people call it sleep dentistry because patients almost always just sleep through their procedure. This will not only give you pain-free appointments, but it will also allow you to catch up on your dental work much quicker.

As for crowning every tooth, while I have not examined you, nothing you mentioned indicates the need for such a drastic treatment. You have five cavities and you want whiter teeth, is the way I understood what you wrote. If that is the case, all you need to do is have fillings placed on the teeth with the five cavities. Make sure your dentist gives you mercury-free composite fillings, and then get your teeth whitened.

That is faster, cheaper, and much more conservative with your tooth structure.
This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.