Category Archives: Tooth infection

Toothache with swollen cheek

I’ve had a sore tooth for the last few weeks. Now my cheek is swollen. Is this because of my tooth?

Belinda G.- Little Rock, AR


It’s possible that you have a tooth abscess. An abscess can spread from the pulp of your tooth to the jawbone, even to the muscles and skin. That could explain your cheek.  It is important you visit your dentist as soon as possible for treatment.  It’s possible you had a cavity that spread to the pulp of your tooth. If that is the case you’ll need a root canal treatment and a dental crown.

If the tooth has a crack, you’ll need an extraction. Fortunately, you can replace your tooth with a dental implant or other type of prosthetic.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Dentist Dr. John Theriot.

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.

Other links you may be interested in: Lafayette gentle dentist, emergency dentist

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.

Can a tooth be saved from root resorption?


It has been a long time since I visited the dentist. In fact, it has probably been five years now or so. Although, two years ago I had some x-rays done and the dentist made a treatment plan. I just didn’t trust his recommendations and frankly couldn’t afford it. So when I went back to the dentist this month I anticipated there to be a lot of problems. The dentist filled a couple of cavities and then while trying to do a root canal treatment on one of my upper molars, he said I had root resorption. Apparently this wasn’t visible from the x-ray. He had originally thought that I just had a cavity located very close to the root. He says the tooth cannot be saved. Then, he is recommending a tooth extraction and having a dental implant placed.

Do you know if it was absolutely necessary to have the tooth pulled? Or was the endodontist forced to pull it because the root canal treatment was already in progress?

– Sandy from Washington


With root resorption, it all depends on where it is located. If it was at the end of the root, then it may have been caused from an infection. In this case it may have still been possible to salvage the tooth. Although, from what you have described it sounds like the resorption was located on the side of the root. If this was indeed the case, then the tooth would need to be extracted because there really is not a way to treat it effectively.

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

Should I cancel my crown if my root canal still hurts?


I had a root canal treatment done three weeks ago. Everything seemed to go okay when I was in the first time, but then the dentist scheduled me for a second appointment since a fourth canal was suspected. Apparently the fourth canal was found and while performing the endodontic treatment a crack was found in my tooth. After the appointment I had a lot of pain and some swelling. As time passed the swelling went away, but I still am dealing with a consistent pain in my jaw. The pain seems to radiate into other areas of my face and my ear. It turns into a headache and I also feel sinus pressure.

Next, I’m supposed to have the crown placed. And I have decided to reschedule the appointment for a week later to hopefully allow some more time for it to heal.

Does this sound normal? Is there something else wrong or do I just need to give it some more healing time?

During the last procedure when he had to search for the fourth canal, I know he had to do a lot of digging. I have only been able to manage soft foods but I’m beginning to become frustrated by the whole thing. It has been close to five or six months now that I’ve been dealing with this problem tooth. Last week the dentist said that everything seemed fine from the x-ray that was done. I have been taking ibuprofen every six hours for weeks now and postponed the appointment like he suggested.

Let me know if you have any advice. Thank you!

– Carolyn from Florida


From what you have described, it sounds like it was good to postpone the crown. Although, it really may be a month or so before it can be fully determined if the tooth will be okay. A root canal treatment may not always be successful. And from the fourth canal that was found coupled with the crack, there is a chance the the root canal may have failed.

During schooling for dentists, they sometimes make you wait for six months before placing the crown to make sure there were no other problems that arose. It is not necessary to wait that long now, but it is important to note that it does take time for issues to surface. For example, if the tooth has an infection then it won’t be visible on the x-ray until the infection has had some time to settle in. Then it still may be difficult to pick it up on an x-ray.

It may be worth another trip to the endodontist to have them evaluate your case and review the x-ray to determine that everything looks okay before having the crowns placed.

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

Related Links: emergency dentist; CEREC crowns

My tooth is infected again


Many years ago, I had a root canal done. The cap was placed but came off inside the root and left a hole. Now I have this terrible pain in the hole area and some bleeding when I clean it out. Then I put the tooth back in place which is held by a splint. Is this a tooth infection? My gums throb and the pain is spreading into my cheek near my eye. Do you think I need an antibiotic?

– Linda from Tennessee


It is difficult to understand exactly what you are describing without actually seeing you. But it does sound like a tooth infection. So you should probably get in to see your dentist as soon as possible.

If a root canal filling is exposed to saliva, it can make the cement wear down. So this means that it won’t be held in place and has the potential to become infected again. That may be what is going on here. Did the dentist put a temporary filling in the tooth to protect it when the root canal treatment was initially done? That is an important step since the temporary filling needs to stay in place. Or if the the permanent filling or dental crown breaks off so it is vulnerable to saliva, you need to get into the dentist immediately. Or you could be at risk for a new infection.

Also, if you are experiencing pain or swelling in the jaw, it can easily travel to your eye or even to your brain which has the potential to be deadly. Antibiotics can help control the infection, but if the tooth is infected it needs to be fixed. Or else the infection will keep coming back until it is taken care of.

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

Related link: emergency dentist

Sensitivity to CEREC crown


A few months ago I was having issues with my tooth. It was very sensitive to temperature and pressure. My dentist recommended a CEREC crown to fix the tooth. I had it done and was impressed with the technology and the process. But after a few days the pain from hot and cold and pressure was still there and got to be too much. My dentist said he would ease the crown which helped a little bit after he did that. I was told a root canal wasn’t needed and to wait it out for another eight weeks or so. The pain never went away and over time it spread into my jaw, radiating in the tooth next to it. The excruciating pain went on for a couple weeks, than it seems the last few days the sensitivity is gone. I can eat normally and the temperature of food doesn’t bother it nearly as bad and sometimes not at all. Maybe I really did need to just wait it out. Do you know what has happened? Is it part of the CEREC technology?

– Tommy in Vermont


I think it is time to have an x-ray of the tooth taken by another dentist.

The CEREC crown is a great option under the right circumstance. Typically when a tooth shows sensitivity to hot and cold it is due to an irritation. A crown placed would add to the irritation of the tooth. When a tooth is sensitive as you have explained and also needs a crown, first thing to do is remove the decay and make sure that a root canal treatment is not required.

What may have happened is that the pulp inside your tooth has died and is no longer sensitive. Usually when a tooth is hurting or is extremely sensitive it is a good indicator of an infection. Just because your pain has gone away doesn’t mean that the infection is gone.

Sounds like it’s time for a second opinion from another dentist.

Best of luck.

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

Do I need to have a root canal done?


I’m not sure if I need to have a root canal yet or not? I am having pain in my right side when I eat or drink something cold. If I put something warm on it, that helps the pain. But, shortly after that, the pain returns. At first I thought the pain was due to how much gum I was chewing but I’m not sure if that’s really the problem. Any insight you have would be appreciated.


-Allen from Washington


If you are having reoccurring pain after something cold, then it is likely an indication that you need a root canal.

If a tooth is sensitive to temperature only when the cold item is on the tooth, a root canal treatment may not be required. But if the pain is lingering than it sounds more like a root canal is needed.

It can be confusing if the pain goes away after a couple of weeks. This happens often where a patient thinks the tooth is getting better. But with a tooth infection the inside tissue actually dies which means you don’t feel anything any more. But treatment for the infection is still required.

I hope this information answers your question.

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

Related links: sleep dentistry

Another tooth infection

I think I have another tooth infection on a root canal I had done several years ago. The dental crown that goes over the root broke inside the root. Now all that is left is this hole and I’m suffering from serious pain! I also am having bleeding in the hole when I tried to replace the tooth. Do you think this is another tooth infection? It hurts and throbs on my gum both inside and out. Sometimes it even feels like the pain is radiating up into my right check. Do I need an antibiotic? Should I get in to see my dentist? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

– Kristi from Kansas,


It is hard to understand exactly the issue you are experiencing based on the description you provided. Although, based on where the pain seems to be coming from, it does sound like you may have a tooth infection. Schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

If an old root canal is exposed, the cement that holds it in place can deteriorate. Over time saliva can break it down and this leaves your tooth vulnerable to infection again. This may be the case for you. During a root canal procedure a temporary filling is put in place for protection. If the temporary fails or if your permanent filling or dental crown breaks then the material is exposed to saliva and food particles. I would consider this a dental emergency in that you need to get to your dentist within a couple days before the infection reoccurs.

In regard to the description of your pain, it is possible that the pain can migrate to your eye or even all the way to your brain. This is very serious and can even be life threatening. Also, antibiotics can help control the infection, but the medication alone will not heal the infection. The tooth must be treated otherwise the infection will likely come back and may build an immunity to the antibiotic. Root canals are very serious and require immediate attention.

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

My root canal still hurts

It has been four days since my root canal treatment and it still hurts. I have taken Motrin three times a day for the pain and I am also taking the antibiotic that the dentist prescribed. Is it normal that I still have pain? How long will it be like this?

-Tom in Nebraska


Actually it is not uncommon for their to be some pain or discomfort after a root canal. The process of cleaning the inside of the tooth can push some of the infection through the tissue that is connected to the jawbone. The procedure was probably done properly, but when this tissue is irritated or becomes inflamed it can be very sore and sensitive. You may even experience some swelling in the tooth socket. This means that biting may be extremely painful and can actually increase the inflammation.

Sometimes it takes awhile for the tooth to get better, but if you think it is getting worse you need to contact your dentist. Often times this tooth will need a dental crown after a root canal. You may have to go back into the dentist to have it checked out so you can recover comfortably. Ask about sedation dentistry if you are nervous to have it treated again.

This post was provided by Lafayette dentist Theriot Family Dental Care.