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FAQ:  Oral - Dental Infections

  • Tooth infection: My dentist sees some infection around a tooth. Can it be treated with antibiotics rather than pulling it? I have no discomfort. ...Visitor from MA     (answer)

  • I recently had a teeth cleaning and have had bleeding gums and some pockets collecting food for the past 8 months. 2 hours after my cleaning, I did not feel well and had a sore throat. Through the night my neck swelled up and I was in severe pain. I went to the Emergency Room the next morning with severe pain and couldn't talk or open my mouth. I was admitted to ICU for fear of my airway being blocked, I was given decadron for the swelling, IV antibiotics, pain meds and the swelling gradually went down. I was in the hospital for 3 days. They say my salivary gland was infected and the infection was probably triggered from the cleaning. As the infection subsided, you could see the infection under the skin (celluitis?sp?) spreading down to the top of my chest and to the right side of my neck. The infection was basic strep and I am currently taking penicillin and carafate. They also said I was septic and did a cardiogram and chest x-ray as well as a CT scan of my neck. Is this something common and how could I or my dentist avoid this happening again short of taking antibiotics each time I have my teeth cleaned? Shouldn't the infection have been seen on the X-Rays? ...Tim in FL     (answer)

  • I am a 28 year old male. A couple of years ago, I had a severe abcessed tooth, the 2nd to last molar, on the right bottom side of my mouth. I went to the E.R. and they gave me antibiotics to get rid of the infection, and soon the pain. I went to the dentist, and they decided to perform a root canal on this tooth. They had some 40% discounted dental plan for individuals who did not have insurance, so i took it and proceeded with the root canal. After the precedure was completed, the quoted cost exceeded way more than I was told, so I never went back to get the crown. It was another $350. Now 2 years later, the filling in this tooth has cracked, but does not hurt. But I have noticed a swollen, oval area on my gumline at the back of the right side. It is behind the last molar. I have swelling, and some numbness in my jaw, and sometimes slight pain which shoots up to my ear. Sometimes my neck seems stiff on my right side. I have been using Bietene antibacterial toothpaste, and listerine, to ease the swelling for awhile, but not for long. I seem to be brushing, flossing and using the listerine up to 4 or 5 times a day now. Sometimes my neck and right jawbone feel so stiff and swollen, i have to lay down and pray for the swelling to cease. Not much pain though. I have been taking Golden-seal root hoping it will help reduce the infection(if any) until i can see a dentist. I also take a multi., and extra antioxidents everyday. What could this be? ...Donnie in IL     (answer)

  • My husband had 2 upper teeth (last 2 teeth on upper left) pulled yesterday and the dentist had to leave it drain cause it was full of puss. Now today he's going through cold sweats,chills and hard to swollow and a headache. I'm starting to worry cause he is never sick and he's sleepy also. Could the puss or infection hit him in his system and what should we do? The dentist gave him pain medicine but nothing else.     (answer)

  • It began with a hard gumball sized lump under my jaw on the leftside. The dentist prescribed an antibiotic and suggested a root canal. I preceded to get a root canal the following day even though the lump had tripled in size and opening my mouth was difficult. I continued on antibiotics. It is now one week since my root canal and the swelling is the whole leftside of my face up into ear and down my neck. It is super hard, I can not open my mouth wide enough to brush the backs of my teeth and it keeps getting harder. I have been to the dentist 3 times about the swelling yet he is not concerned. I have been on clindamycin for 7 days now and no relief! Can it take this long to get rid of an infection? And/or could it be something else because it's not like any tests are done to see if the lump is really an infection?     (answer)

  • About a month ago I had a staph infection on the left side of my face. Once that healed I started having tightness and great pain in my jaw. I can barely open my mouth at times because of the pain. I went to my dentist who took xrays and she had to remove a tooth on that side of my mouth thinking that may fix the problem. It didn't work. The pain is so bad I have trouble sleeping. I have never had any pain in this part of my body let alone my face. Can this be from the staph infection or something else? And, how to get rid of it? Please help, I'm desperate. ...Visitor from LA     (answer)

  • For over a year, I have been going back and forth to the dentist and doctor trying to fix my ear pain, crunching sound in ear, teeth pain and constant post nasal drip on the right side. I've had three root canals done on the right side (three separate teeth) but one particular tooth had to have a root canal done three times due to it repeating with the abscessing, it had six roots and the cap replaced three times as well. But now, I have another abscess (pea size pellet inside cheek) on my lower right jaw (same as before) the tooth that had a root canal three times is sore again, my right ear has shooting pain in it and a crunching sound. I have constant post nasal drip on the right side as I always have for the year. What is this? Who should I see? I am sick to my stomach and tired with dizzy spells. ...Visitor from FL     (answer)

  • In December I went to the dentist and had a root canal. Two days later at night I started running a high fever. The third day I went to work and had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital for because I had developed a staph infection. (I had been treated for staph infections before I found out that I am also diabetic). After spending 6 hours in the emergency room on an IV, the doctors let me go home on the condition that I would see my primary physician and take the prescribed antibiotics. The doctors in the ER told me that pennicilin would not kill bacteria in the mouth and gave me a much stronger antibiotic. I had to go to the dentist today to have a root canal done on another tooth. I told him I had talked to my primary physican about whether or not to take antibiotics when I had dental work done since I had been treated for staph infections following cataract surgery and by my gynecologist. My doctor said anytime I had any kind of "digging in the mouth" that it would be necessary to take an antibiotic but I probably would not need one for just cleaning of the teeth. My dentist let me know that he did not agree with the information the doctor said. The dentist also did not seem happy that I had discussed this with my doctor. What do I need to do to convince a dentist that I am susceptible to staph infections and need antibiotics. I even told him that when I had surgery 6 weeks ago that I was given antibiotics to prevent staph infection. ...Visitor from TX     (answer)

  • Nine years ago I suffered with an earache and a small sore spot high in my throat. I consulted my dentist because I was sure I had an infected tooth. He took an x-ray and said it looked fine. Over the next few years I went back again and again and his x-ray didn't show anything. To make this very short, in the past nine years I have seen doctors of many specialties, had numerous CTscans and MRI's. An ENT removed my submandibular gland because of swelling in that area and the floor of my mouth. The pathology report showed a basically normal gland. The pain did not improve. I have consulted numerous dentists, an oral surgeon and an endodontist over the years who have found nothing wrong with my teeth. Two weeks ago a TMJ specialist x-rayed #19 at my request and said I had a dental infection of long standing. He could tell because of extensive calcification of the canals and evidence of extensive extrusion of the tooth. I found an endodontist with special equipment and a microscope technique to do a root canal. A week ago he did the root canal. He said I had the tooth infection for many years. He tells me that it will now heal on its own, but that if I need more treatment to clear up the effects of the long-term infection, I need to find a medical doctor to do that. I think perhaps I have had Ludwig's Angina that was kept in check by my immune system and did not reach a critical stage. What medical specialty do you think I should see to monitor my recovery from this longstanding infection? Many ENT's examined me prior to the diagnosis and didn't find the problem. Who can help me now? ...Visitor from UT     (answer)

  • I went to the dentist in November to have my teeth cleaned. During the cleaning the dentist found a tooth that needed to be filled and that's where my problems started. I have been in pain ever since. I went to my Medical doctor after a month of being in pain and was told I had infection. They gave me an antibiotic. Now it's back again - the same tooth with a bump on the side and I am in pain. It's been 3 months, I don't know what to do. I am scared to go to the dentist now. This dentist that I was using ... I have been in his office at least 4 times in one month. Please give me some advice on what to do next. ...Visitor from NJ     (answer)

  • Draining teeth: My father has a bad metallic taste in his mouth. His front teeth appear to be draining. This has been going on since January 2004. He had the one front tooth filled about 2 weeks ago but it still appears to be draining. He has been on antibiotics for a while and now is on intravenous antibiotics for an unrelated illness. Why would teeth drain like this? What would be the cause of the metallic taste? His dentist and medical doctor have not been much help. A sinus infection has been ruled out. ...Visitor from PA     (answer)

  • Infections: Im a 20 year old male with severe pain in a specific tooth. I had a root canal in it about 3 years ago and there was an infection in the tooth. The dentist who worked on it had been my dentist since I was a little kid. I had never really had any dental problems prior to this, but now I am in constant pain. He worked on it up until a few months ago. I've been prescribed antibiotics and he has reopened the canals to drain them a few times. I stopped going to him for a few reasons. Two weeks ago that tooth cracked and its completely exposed. And for a few months I have been having to drain the swollen gum around the tooth and puss comes out. Is this very serious? ...Visitor from PA     (answer)

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