Why won’t they save my tooth?

I had a root canal done last year and the same dentist wants to remove it now because I have an abscess. Don’t you think the dentist should take another look to see if maybe they missed something in my root canal? He didn’t even prescribe any antibiotics to try to treat the infection either. Do you know why they won’t even try to save my tooth? What do you think about this?

– Beth in South Carolina


It sounds as if you have experienced a failed root canal treatment. Even though your dentist may have had the best intentions, there always exists a chance that the root canal treatment may fail. Without having seen your particular case it is difficult to make recommendations, but it sounds a bit strange that you weren’t given any options. Usually another x-ray could be performed or they can go back in to see if the root canal can be retreated, or surgery can also be another option to save the tooth.

At the very least you should have been given those options and the pros and cons should have been explained to you. It may be time to seek another opinion.

This post is sponsored by Lafayette dentist Theriot Family Dental Care.

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What is the best antibiotic for a tooth infection?

I think I have a tooth infection because I had a toothache that lasted for about a week or so. Then a few days ago, my face began to swell. I am afraid to go to the dentist. Also, I really shouldn’t take off time at work and I don’t know if I could afford it. Can you recommend an antibiotic that will take care of the infection until I can get in for an appointment?

– Rachel in California


You should not be using an antibiotic as a substitute of seeking dental treatment. This is because an antibiotic needs to be used together with treatment because an antibiotic alone will not take care of the problem.

A typical tooth infection takes place on the inside of a tooth. The infection causes the tissue inside the tooth to die. When you take an antibiotic, it will circulate throughout your bloodstream. So if the tooth is dead inside, the blood will not circulate there. Therefore, the antibiotic will not do much. And even if the tooth isn’t actually dead inside, there is no room for the infection to go. So when swelling occurs in your tooth it will spread into an abscess.

A root canal treatment will take care of the infection inside your tooth. But antibiotics alone will never fully eliminate the infection. It may temporarily treat it and that is why it is important to seek treatment that addresses the cause of the infection during that time. If you only take the antibiotic, you are actually creating bacteria that are resistant to the infection. This is a dangerous situation. Because when you finally make it into the dentist, the bacteria may be totally resistant to antibiotics and a tooth infection always runs the chance of spreading into your throat or brain. You don’t want to delay the treatment of a tooth infection, it can result in very serious consequences.

If your finances are holding you back, make some calls around. There are many affordable, emergency dentists around that would help with an urgent situation like you have. They may even be able to work with you on setting up a payment plan. But you need to have this taken care of sooner than later. And if you are scared of the dentist, look for a dentist that offers sedation dentistry. Sedation is safe, simple, and you may not even remember the appointment.

This post is sponsored by Lafayette dentist Theriot Family Dental Care.