Tag Archives: tooth infections

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.

She Should Not Trust This Dentist

I need some advice. I went to the dentist because of a toothache. It was actually hard for me to go because I have a lot of dental anxiety. When I got there he said that there is an infection in a tooth that already had a filling. He said the tooth is too far gone to save and it needs to be extracted then replaced with a dental implant. He gave me some antibiotics and scheduled me to come back in less than a week for the extraction. I’m having serious doubts about this, but it may just be because I don’t like dentists. Should I just move forward with this or are there other options?

Mandy

Dear Mandy,

A woman grabbing her jaw in need of an emergency dentist

I am very glad you wrote. I think you need to get a second opinion before moving forward with this. If the tooth were as far gone as the dentist indicated, he would not have needed an x-ray to see that. Your filling would literally be falling in on the decay. Plus, you would have been having severe pain for a while and that isn’t something you mentioned. You seemed to indicate the pain was fairly new. Have another dentist look at this just to make sure this is what your tooth really needs. It’s better to be safe in cases like this.

It showed real courage and wisdom to go to the dentist when you had a toothache, even with your dental anxiety. Tooth infections are considered dental emergencies and you did the right thing even if I am not sure you should trust this dentist.

I want to address something that can help with your anxiety. When you get your second opinion, try to find a dentist who offers dental sedation options. Doing it that way will enable you to get an anxiety-free and pain-free appointment. Patients with anxiety find dental sedation can change their lives and enable them to finally get all the dental work they’ve been avoiding for years done.

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

Can a Root Canal Infect a Salivary Gland?

My daughter has had two salivary gland infections and they are both on the same side where she had a root canal treatment done. Is it possible the root-canaled tooth is infecting her salivary gland?

Kerrie

Dear Kerrie,

A woman grabbing her jaw in need of an emergency dentist

I’m sorry about the ordeal your daughter has been facing. That must be painful. The first thing I would suggest is that you have some x-rays done for her tooth with the root canal treatment. In order for the salivary gland to get infected from the root canal, there would have to be an active infection in the tooth.

Root canal failure is fairly common so I wouldn’t be completely surprised if there was an active infection. You should be aware that the chances of a successful procedure go down with each root canal retreatment. If it turns out your daughter does have an active infection, you will have a better chance of success with the follow-up treatment if you go to an endodontist. It isn’t a guarantee, but they specialize in these treatments and will have more experience. Don’t put off the re-treatment. These type of infections are considered dental emergencies.

When a Tooth Cannot Be Saved

Sometimes, a tooth cannot be saved. When that happens, the tooth needs to be extracted and replaced. The best tooth replacement is a dental implant. You didn’t mention how old your daughter is. For her to get a dental implant, she would need to have a fully developed jaw. Until then, a temporary replacement (like a dental flipper) will keep the space open and will cost you less than other replacement options.

If the x-ray determines there is not an active infection, then whatever is going on with her salivary gland will have nothing to do with her dental health. I would suggest further investigation.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert, AZ 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 if I can’t afford wisdom tooth removal?

I’ve been having trouble with my wisdom teeth. I think they need to be removed, but I just can’t afford it. Can I just get an antibiotic from my doctor?  My face is starting to swell, so I’m getting worried.

Jack K. – Orlando, FL

Jack,

You have reason to be worried. It sounds like you’ve got an infected wisdom tooth and it is spreading. Our mouths are dreadfully close to our brains. you certainly don’t want it spreading there!

Though antibiotics help, they will only help if the infection is physically removed. Your teeth are different from other parts of your body. The infection has to be removed.

There are affordable ways to deal with this and it does have to be dealt with, for your own safety.

Talk to your dentist. I’m sure he or she will be willing to work with you.

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

The BEST way to go to the dentist

Here is a letter a colleague of mine received. I can’t think of a better endorsement for sedation dentistry anywhere.

For years I have avoided the dentist (sorry about that), but not anymore. I have found the best way to go to the dentist. If you have any other chicken patients maybe you can tell them my story and they will find the help I did.

Dear Fellow Dental Chicken,

I understand how you feel. Whenever I thought about going to the dentist my whole body would tense up.  Who wants to pay for that kind of pain? The problem was I was starting to be in pain all the time.  I was getting cavities. Those cavities turned into tooth infections.

Even with the infection, I was still finding excuses to avoid the dentist. One evening, when I was in an abundance of pain, my friend Terri told me that if I didn’t take care of my tooth infection that it could spread. In a worst case scenario, it can even spread to my brain!

I don’t have to tell you that she put me in a little bit of a panic.  She told me about sedation dentistry and my life hasn’t been the same since.  I took a pill before my appointment. It relaxed me completely. To be honest, it relaxed me so much I don’t remember a whole lot about the dental appointment.  What I do know is that my infection is gone and I felt NO pain during my appointment.  Since then, I’ve been back twice to take care of all that dental work I have neglected over these years.

I hope this helps.

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