Category Archives: Emergency Dentist

Antibiotics and a Tooth Infection

I went to see a dentist because of serious pain I was having along with swelling in my cheek that went all the way up to my eye. He said I have a massive infection and gave me some antibiotics. I have been taking them. The infection seemed to be getting better but then got worse again. Now I am out of antibiotics. Do I just call to get a refill or is something else going on?

Morgan

Dear Morgan,

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

Are you certain the dentist you went to didn’t tell you to make a follow-up appointment? Antibiotics alone do not cure a tooth infection the way they do with other types of bacterial infections. Instead, they just keep the infection from spreading. The reason tooth infections are different is because, at some point, the pulp inside the tooth dies. This means there is no longer any blood flow to get the antibiotic to the infected tissue.

This means while the infection will seem to improve for a bit, without completing the treatment the infection will return. When that happens, it is dangerous and considered a dental emergency. This is where you are now.

The Solution to a Tooth Infection

The only way to truly solve a tooth infection is to remove the infected pulp. A dentist can do this two ways. The first is a root canal treatment. This is what you want because it will save your tooth. If that doesn’t work or it is too late to save the tooth, your next option is a tooth extraction.

If you end up having to extract the tooth, you’ll also want to replace it. Because you lose the root of your tooth when you have an extraction, you will want to replace that root. The only tooth replacement that does this is a dental implant. Without replacing the root, the minerals in the jawbone where the tooth was will begin to resorb and the bone in that area begins to disappear.

Bottom line, this is serious. Get to a dentist right away and get this treated.
This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

Can a Tooth Infection Spread to My Brain?

I’m worried about this tooth infection I have. I went to the dentist and he provided me with an antibiotic but told me not to take it until two weeks before my procedure, which isn’t for another month. I read somewhere that a tooth infection can spread to my brain, but he is insisting there is nothing to worry about. What do I do?

Miranda

Dear Miranda,

toothache

While it is true that a tooth infection can spread to your brain, as well as your heart and lungs, there are some dental infections that are so small, you’d have time before you had to worry about that type of spread. Starting the antibiotic in two weeks, will help prevent it from spreading as well.

The danger often comes when there are patients who avoid the dentist out of fear. By the time they see a dentist, if they do at all, the infection has progressed so far that it is a dental emergency and they need treatment right away or they can put their lives in danger.

This doesn’t sound like you. However, I’m sure you know someone in your life who suffers from dental anxiety. For the benefit of those who do struggle getting to the dentist I want to post here that dental sedation can change their life. By using something like nitrous oxide or oral conscious sedation, which is even stronger, you can have an anxiety-free dental appointment.

Not only will that prevent them from waiting until they need a painful emergency procedure, but it will also allow them to get caught up on their dental care, giving them a healthy smile for the first time in a long time. In turn, this makes the remainder of their appointments easier.

When You May Have a Problem

Though I said this infection likely won’t be a problem, sometimes a dental infection will surprise us and take off suddenly. If your pain worsens or you develop a fever, call your dentist and have him move up your appointment.

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

What’s Wrong With My Root Canal?

Hi there,

I fractured my teeth playing sports a few months back, and was treated by an emergency dentist and released. A few weeks after the accident, my teeth became grey and discolored.  I was in severe pain and had swelling, so I had to go back to the dentist for an emergency root canal.

I was ok for a few days with antibiotics but now the pain is back. I don’t know what to do to get the pain to go away. My tooth is sensitive to cold food and even chilly air. I’m very uncomfortable and want the pain to stop.

Should I have gotten a root canal sooner? Do I need more antibiotics? What can I do about the pain?

Luca, from Quebec, Montreal

 

Hi Luca,

A discolored tooth means there is damage to the root, or an infection may be present. It needs a root canal treatment as soon as possible at the first sign of greying. Once the root is removed, the bacteria is cleared up and the tooth is sealed to prevent further problems. Leaving an infected tooth in your mouth longer than it needs to be there serves no purpose. Oral infections should be taken seriously, as they can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated too long.

It sounds like your root canal treatment was sealed before all the bacteria was removed, which is causing a flare up. Usually, the infection is allowed time and space to drain, but since it has been sealed, there is no where for it to go. Also, a few days of antibiotics is not enough time to be on the medication.

Your best bet is to find an endodontist specializing in root canals. They can fix what has been started, and will advise you on how to properly take your antibiotics for maximum effectiveness.

This blog post is brought to you by Gilbert emergency dentist, Dr. Matthew Roper, of Vista Dorada Dental.

 

 

Can I Put Off a Root Canal?

Hello,

My dentist told me I needed a root canal on my tooth, but I don’t have any pain. How long can I put off getting a root canal?

Haruka, from West Virginia

 

Hi Haruka,

If your tooth is not hurting, or has not hurt in awhile, it may be ok to delay it. It may be what’s called an arrested infection or a latent infection — you may have one but not know it. However, you can still be affected by the infection even if it doesn’t cause pain. Putting off a root canal raises the risk of external resorption —slowly, the infection will eventually kill the root, and the tooth won’t be salvageable. However, an infection caused by active decay will continue until the tooth is destroyed, and action must be taken immediately.

Even without pain, if you have a red pimple-like spot on your gum near the root tip, or the infection is draining in your mouth, these are signs of an active infection. You should make an appointment with your general dentist to get this taken care of. If your pain comes back or you feel severe pain, you should see an emergency dentist.

This blog post is brought to you by Gilbert emergency dentist, Dr. Matthew Roper, of Vistadorada Dental.

 

Is This Crack in my Crown an Emergency?

Hi,

When I got several porcelain crowns placed on my  front teeth, one of them had a defect that the others did not. There has always been this horizontal line towards the bottom of one of my crowns; it’s difficult to see unless you’re looking for it, so it never bothered me before. However, now I can see the fracture line clearly and I can feel it when I run my tongue over it. I’m afraid of it breaking while I’m talking. I’ve had the crowns for over fifteen years, so I’m open to replacing them. Do I need to be seen immediately at an emergency dentist? Or can this wait until my general dentist can see me?

Ross, from Calvin, North Dakota

 

Hi Ross,

This sounds like a cosmetic emergency, but unless you’re in pain or have lost the crown, you don’t necessarily need to see an emergency dentist for this problem. However, instead of going to your general dentist, you should go see a cosmetic dentist. An expert cosmetic dentist can replace the crown. You should try to do this before it breaks completely, because it most likely will in the future. If this happens, you should see an emergency dentist for a temporary crown.

Porcelain crowns often have horizontal “craze” lines, and they are usually undetectable and nothing to worry about. However, since you can now feel the defect, it means your crown has shifted and is in need of replacing.

Depending on the cosmetic dentist you see, they may recommend replacing all of your porcelain crowns due to their age. There is no rush to do this if there are no problems with your crowns. Be aware that it is difficult to color-match a new crown to the older ones unless you go see an expert ceramist.

This blog post is brought to you Gilbert emergency dentist, Dr. Matthew Roper. Please note that cosmetic dentistry is not a specialty recognized by the ADA, but dentists like Dr. Roper have received additional post-graduate training in restorative dentistry, and have the experience to help their patients with their aesthetic concerns.

Emergency Dentist Won’t Fix Crown

Several months ago, I had a crown placed. Shortly after, approximately 3-4 months, a portion of the porcelain broke completely off. Not only was I bothered that the piece fell off so soon after the crown was placed, but it has been bothering me ever since. I returned to the dentist a few times for adjustments, but nothing really improved the issue.

I still need to address the problem, but have zero interest in returning to the same dentist. It is causing me pain and discomfort, so I sought out an emergency dentist who saw me quickly. Unfortunately, the dentist would not correct the current crown issues, stating that, instead, it needed to be completely replaced.

A new crown is not in my budget, especially since the crown should not have broken. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks,
Mike

Dear Mike,

It is understandable that you are frustrated after experiencing these issues. However, it is important to understand that different dentists have different opinions when it comes to treatments and ways to address issues.

You mentioned your crown was broken. It’s possible that there is no way to save the crown and a new one needs placed. If this is the case, it would be good to return to the dentist who originally placed it, to at least attempt treatment, as it would cost less for you.

Dentists have varying opinions on the length of time a treatment should last. For example, a crown should last at least five years. If a repair to the crown is needed, or a crown needs replaced, the dentist should not charge the patient, or at minimum, charge a reduced fee. You should expect that your dentist will stand behind his or her work.

This blog is sponsored by the office of Gilbert emergency dentist, Dr. Matthew Roper.

 

Should my husband have received a root canal at emergency dentist?

My husband had a tooth that was causing him a great deal of pain for over a year. Throughout that time, I would periodically remind him that it was likely going to result in a root canal if he did not have it checked out. As I had warned him, he ended up dealing with a terrible toothache and had to make a trip to an emergency dentist. However, the emergency dentist only treated him with a crown. Should he have had a root canal?

Thank you,

Karen

Dear Karen,

There are many causes of tooth pain. A cavity, cracked tooth, infection, and numerous other problems can cause pain. Typically, when the decay reaches the center of a tooth, or is near a nerve, it causes the nerve to send signals of distress in the form on pain or discomfort. They can also be necessary if a tooth becomes infected or dead. Needless to say, tooth pain doesn’t always equal a root canal, as different causes of pain need to be treated in different ways.

The emergency dentist should have explained the diagnosis to you, so you knew what was occurring and why. If he failed to do so, you could call the office and find out exactly what was wrong with the tooth.

Something else to learn from this experience is that you can’t waste any time when it comes to tooth problems. The quicker a problem is addressed, the less treatment is typically needed.

This post was brought to you by Gilbert emergency dentist, Dr. Matt Roper.

Was I misdiagnosed by an emergency dentist?

I saw an emergency dentist a couple of days ago and am very upset. A little over a year, it was suggested I get a filling, and I have been putting it off. I mentioned this to the emergency dentist but added that the tooth next to that tooth was the one giving me the trouble at the time of my emergency visit. I indicated the issues I’d been having on the phone, therefore assumed they were going to do the fillings during my visit.

During my visit, he ran a few tests. In other words, he hit my teeth with his mirror a few times. Since my teeth were hurting when I went in, this caused me even more pain. He then proceeded to tell me that I needed a filling, but not on the tooth in question. I then asked about the tooth with the pre-existing cavity, to which he answered also needed a filling. He then told me I would need to come back. I’m still in pain. The visit to the emergency dentist did nothing! Do you think it’s possible that I could have an infection, or something else serious? I don’t want the issue to go unnoticed just because that dentist was in a rush to get through the appointment.

Thanks,
Doug


Dear Doug,

Typically, most infections are obvious. If the dentist performed an x-ray and exam, the infection would have been hard to miss. Cavities are capable of causing tooth pain, especially if they are deeply rooted. Not always are they indicators of infection or a need for a root canal. Regarding the tests, the dentist was likely trying to determine which teeth were causing you trouble, in order to recommend the best treatment route. It’s possible that your tooth could have passed its pain onto its neighboring tooth, or it could be cracked and be causing the pain, which is not always obvious, even with an exam or x-ray. However, the tests are a critical part of a thorough exam. That all being said, it’s alarming that your second cavity was not mentioned until you brought it up. This does indicate that your dentist was rushing through his work, making it understandable to question his assessment.

Moving forward, it would be wise for you to have those fillings done as soon as you can, and consider using a different dentist. It’s important to keep in mind that not all dentists allow time for the work when they haven’t completed an exam. This is because they don’t the amount of time that will be needed, or whether or not the patient will go through with the procedure due to the costs. If you do schedule your fillings with another provider, consider an early appointment, and be sure to pass on that your teeth have recently been diagnosed and the recommended treatment. Finally, ask if they could set aside time for the repairs during this appointment.

This post was written by the office of Gilbert emergency dentist, Dr. Matt Roper.