Tag Archives: Tooth Infection

Antibiotics for Tooth Infection

I had a severe toothache and went to see a new dentist. My regular one closed permanently shortly after the quarantine started. He was close to retirement anyway. This dentist gave me an antibiotic that I was taking three times a day. My tooth started to get better, but now has gotten worse. What do I do now? I have never had this happen before.


Dear Alice,

Woman grabbing her jaw in pain needing an emergency dentist

I hope your new dentist didn’t think giving you an antibiotic was enough. He should have scheduled a follow-up appointment with you to have a root canal treatment. If he didn’t, that is a real problem.

An antibiotic is useful to hold off an infection until you are able to have the treatment you need. However, it does not heal the tooth. The only way to do that is for the dentist to get in there and physically remove the infected pulp.

If the tooth can be saved, you would do that with a root canal treatment and many times a dental crown will need to be placed as well. If the tooth can’t be saved, then you’d need a tooth extraction.

It is a bad sign that the infection started to get better and then progressed again. This is a dental emergency and needs to be seen right away.

If You Lose the Tooth

My guess is you will still be able to save the tooth. If, however, you get back in and it isn’t possible, then the tooth will have to be extracted to keep the infection from spreading. Dental infections can turn life-threatening.

When a tooth is extracted, it is important to replace it. If you don’t, the other teeth will shift and tip into the open space, which will throw off your bite. In some cases, it can lead to TMJ Disorder and daily jaw pain and migraines.

Hopefully, this dentist didn’t cost you a tooth.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

antibiotics for a Tooth infection

I had a painful tooth and went in to see a dentist. He said it is infected and placed me on some antibiotics, I think it was amoxicillin. It did get better at first but now I think it is back and my face is starting to swell. Did I need a different antibiotic?


Dear Casey,

A man holding his jaw in pain in need of a dentist

Is it possible your dentist asked you to schedule a follow-up appointment and it slipped your mind? The reason I am asking this is antibiotics alone are not the correct treatment for a tooth infection. They are often prescribed to keep the infection at bay until the dentist has time to deal with the infection itself. This is usually done with a root canal treatment. They’ll often cover the tooth with a porcelain crown as well.

Here is the problem with antibiotics. Once the infection gets serious the pulp inside the tooth dies. When that happens, there is no longer blood flow in the tooth. That means the antibiotic can no longer reach the source of the infection.

It will keep it from spreading for a time, but eventually, the antibiotics run out. With the source of the infection still viable, it begins to spread again. This is what is happening to you.

Don’t Mess With Dental Infections

Don’t mess with this. You mentioned your face is starting to swell. I would consider this a dental emergency. you need to see a dentist who is willing to treat this today.

Believe it or not, there are still people who die from tooth infections. Think about how close your jaw is to your brain, heart, and lungs. If you let the infection get that far, it turns life-threatening quickly.

If your dentist didn’t plan on doing anything other than the antibiotics, that is a serious concern. It would mean he doesn’t have a real understanding of how dental infections work. That is the bare basics when it comes dental care. In my opinion, if that is the case you need to find a new dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Is It Normal to Get a Pimple on Your Gums?

I’ve got a pimple on my gums. I’m worried about it. My husband says I’m overreacting, that it’s just a pimple. But, I’ve never heard of a pimple on gums and it hurts. Is this normal?

Danya L.

Dear Danya,

Emergency Dental Care

You’re right to be concerned. This is more serious than a simple pimple. It’s likely one of two things. First, it could be the beginnings of a canker sore and just resembles a pimple. This won’t be very large, but it will “open up” and start to resemble a canker sore rather soon.

This is not an emergency, but you will want to attend to it. Salt water rinses will help, along with over the counter pain relievers. It should clear up within two weeks. If it doesn’t, see your dentist for an oral tissue exam. Sometimes oral cancer resembles a canker sore. Your dentist examines you for this at every check-up. If you’re diligent with your check ups, the canker sore is the more likely scenario.

If it truly resembles a full-sized pimple, then it is most likely a fistula. This is filled with puss, so don’t pop it. You won’t like the taste. A fistula means you have an active tooth infection. This needs to be seen right away. In fact, if you don’t have a regular dentist, you need to see an emergency dentist. They’ll work you in sooner than most dentists even if you’re not an established patient.

There are a number of possible treatment options here depending on why the bacteria is pooling. If the tooth is cracked and leaking bacteria into the gums, then you’ll need a dental crown. If it’s in a visible place then you’ll want to be sure to get an all-porcelain crown. They look completely natural. If there’s an infection, it’s possible to need a root canal treatment.

Either way, you don’t want to put off treatment. The infection will spread. The quicker it’s treated, the less invasive the procedure will need to be.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Pain with a CEREC crown

I had four CEREC crowns put on back teeth. One of them is causing horrible pain when I bite. I’ve been back to my dentist a couple of times.  He shaved it, but it didn’t get any better. He thinks it is because of the way I chew.  Wouldn’t that have been causing pain before I had the crown put in? Isn’t it more likely that it is because I got a CEREC crown instead of a regular one?

Dennis L. – Maine


I don’t think it is because of your bite or because of the CEREC crown. In fact, because CEREC crowns are milled by a computer, there is less chance of the crown being a problem.  When you have pain when biting a crown, there are generally one or two reasons that is the cause:

1. The bite can be too high. I don’t suspect this is your case because you’ve already been back twice. Surely your dentist would have noticed that. I’m sure he’s adjusted your bite.

2. The other reason is an infection. Your dentist can do an x-ray and it will tell you if that is the case.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.


Tooth pain with Invisalign

I am on my fifth set of aligners with invisalign. I’m having pretty bad tooth pain. My dentist wondered if I could have a leaky filling. He wants to remove it and put in a temporary filling to see how it does. Do you think this is OK?

Brenda L.- Washington


There could be a few things going on. First, and a very probable one, is uncomfortableness from orthodontic work. Whenever you are moving your teeth, it doesn’t matter if you’re using Invisalign or traditional metal braces, your teeth can become painful because of sensitivity to pressure. Your teeth are shifting and then have to reform the bone over the tooth root.

A second possible reason for the pain in your tooth is what your dentist is suggesting. You could have a defective filling. It is not uncommon for amalgam (silver) fillings to begin to crack and leak.  He’ll put a temporary filling in and seal your teeth better. In a fair amount of time it will feel better, if that was the problem.

A third reason could be that your tooth is infected. You may want your dentist to do an x-ray to eliminate an infection.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Louisiana dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Pressure Around Front Crown

About 4 months ago, one of my upper front teeth broke when I fell on the floor during a badminton game. Luckily, my dentist managed to perform a root canal treatment and then placed a post to strengthen the tooth. I have another crowned tooth done 20 years ago next to the broken tooth and there was a black line at the gum level due to receding gum. The two front teeth were quite protruding. My dentist suggested to re-crown the old crowned tooth together with the placement of a porcelain crown over the broken tooth and he could angle the two teeth downwards to make them not so prominent. They were done and the two teeth are not so protruding.

After nearly 4 months, I still feel pressure around the two teeth and I feel uncomfortable. My dentist kept saying that the pressure will go away but I am doubtful. I also have 4 other teeth that were crowned a few years ago and they did not give me problems immediately after being crowned. I don’t understand why the two front crowned teeth keep giving me this under pressure feeling around them. I could floss between them, although it feels tight and after flossing, the pressure will go away for a while and then come back again. Any anyone have advice on this?

Thanks, Tim

Dear Tim,

Sometimes teeth that receive a root canal have no symptoms after the treatment but there are in some cases where patients still feel some pressure and pain for several months. We recommend that you visit your dentist and have your teeth x-rayed where your root canal was performed to see if the tooth is infected. Another consideration is to have your dentist check your bite. It is a possibility that your crowns that were recently completed are hitting too hard on your bottom teeth which can cause the same type of symptoms that you are having. Make an appointment with your dentist to have him re-evaluate your teeth and if you feel your solution is still unresolved we recommend you visit an endodontist who specializes in root canal treatments for a second opinion.

Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist

No dental insurance and an infected tooth

I’ve had a lot of problems with my teeth. I am missing most of the teeth in the rear of my mouth, and now I have an infection that is really painful. It looks like I have a golf ball stuck in my cheek! I am out of work right now, and don’t have any kind of insurance at all. Where can I find someone to help me with this tooth? I asked the doctor at the Free Clinic, but he was not aware of any dental clinics that offer free treatments.

Is there anything I can do to treat this myself?

Thanks for your help.

Darren in Cleveland, OH

Dear Darren,

You’ll need help to get this infection under control. Especially do NOT take oral antibiotics without first treating the source of the infection within the tooth. If you do, you’ll never address the source of the infection and will make the bacteria that remain resistant to antibiotics. You could find yourself with an infection that NO drugs will effectively deal with, and that can be a very serious situation.

A tooth infection can spread to your brain. That is a sobering statement, but we want you to take this situation seriously. Infections in your teeth can also spread to your throat and cause swelling that could interfere with your airway. You have a couple of options here to address this. You can have the tooth extracted. It sounds as if you are missing a lot of teeth, so you may want to start looking into options to regain some functionality. Dental implants are great for replacing missing teeth, but they are expensive and never covered by dental insurance. Dental bridges might work for you, depending on the position of the missing teeth.

Your community may have a clinic where you can go to get the tooth extracted. If they don’t, check at the Free Clinic to see if any of the doctors know any dentists in your area that will help.

The office of Lafayette Louisiana cosmetic dentist Dr. Malone provides this blog as a courtesy.

Are infections in your teeth dangerous?

I don’t have any dental insurance, or medical insurance either. I am writing to ask about a problem I am having, so I don’t waste my very limited resources in going to see the wrong professional.

Here is what has happened: Last week I broke one of my molars. It is the very back molar on the left side, right ahead of where my wisdom tooth used to be, in my lower jaw. Ever since I did that, I have a lot of pain in my cheek and jaw. In the last couple of days, the pain seems to be in my sinuses and nose, too. Basically right now my hold head and face just hurt!

I had some antibiotics left over from a recent infection (they are not expired), so I’ve been taking those but that doesn’t seem to be helping at all. Does all of this sound like it could be caused from that broken tooth, or is this more likely to be sinus issues? I know I need to see someone, but like I said I don’t want to waste my money on a visit to someone who is just going to tell me to go see someone different.

One of my co-workers said today that infections in your teeth can get in your brain?! Is that even true? She said that it can be really dangerous and that has me kind of freaked out. Any advice you can offer would be really helpful.


Eleanor in Ludington, MI

Dear Eleanor,

Your friend is correct–an infection in your tooth is dangerous, and can indeed spread to your brain. You must get this taken care of right away. The infection is spreading, and this will not get better on its own.

Call your dentist and see if he or she will work out some kind of payment plan. Very few dentists will turn away a patient in an emergency situation like this. If by some chance your dentist will not help you, keep calling around until you find one that will, or contact the local dental society (look in the yellow pages for a listing) and see if they maintain a list of emergency dentists in your area that can help patients without insurance or funds. You can also go into the emergency room and they will help you.

You should also discontinue the antibiotics immediately. If you take antibiotics for a tooth infection without treating the source of the infection within the tooth (and oral antibiotics do not touch it), then you simply strengthen the bacteria that remain and make them antibiotic-resistant. Only a root canal treatment or an extraction will reach the source of the infection. If you have to have an extraction, talk to your dentist about a dental bridge to replace the tooth. The location of the infected tooth means that a dental implant would be the best choice to replace the tooth, but dental implants are quite expensive and never covered by dental insurance.

Please do not delay. Get this taken care of right away, before the infection spreads further. Wishing you the best of health.

This blog post brought to you as a courtesy by the office of Lafayette Louisiana cosmetic dentist Dr. Malone.