I have a tooth that I am sure is infected. I don’t have time to deal with it right now as we are about to leave for a family vacation. I do have some leftover antibiotics and am sure I can get my doctor to call in another prescription. Then, when we get back, I’ll have the tooth extracted. Is there a preferred antibiotic for this?
I want to make sure you understand that antibiotics will not “heal” an infected tooth. The infected tissue has to be physically removed. I think you’re planning on doing that with an extraction. You should know you do have an option that will save your tooth, called a root canal treatment. This is a procedure where the dentist goes into the tooth canals with a tiny instrument to take out the infected pulp. It is always better to save a tooth whenever possible. This is because of the danger of root resorption.
What an antibiotic can do is sort of hold off an infection until then. How long they hold it off varies on the infection. Bear in mind, tooth infections are considered a dental emergency for a reason. If the infection grows too rapidly, it can become life-threatening. Think about how close your jaw is to your heart, lungs, and brain, you can see that you don’t want to let the infection spread.
There is a danger that you take your antibiotic and in the middle of your family vacation the infection blows up and you end up in the office of a strange dentist you don’t know while your family flounders on without you.
The better plan is to go ahead and get a root canal treatment before you go. This is a much easier procedure than a tooth extraction.
If It Comes to an Extraction
if it does turn out that the tooth can’t be saved, there are other considerations. First and foremost is the tooth must be replaced. If you don’t, the nearby teeth will begin to shift or tip into the spot. This will throw off your bite. When this happens, you’ll begin to experience jaw pain and it can even lead to migraines and TMJ Disorder.
There are quite a few tooth replacement options. The best replacement is a dental implant. This has a prosthetic tooth root that is topped by a dental crown. Having a dental implant is the closest thing to having a healthy, natural tooth in your mouth again.
Another option is a dental bridge. This suspends a false tooth between dental crowns. The downside of this is it requires two healthy teeth to be crowned. You may not want to do that.
Finally, there is a removable partial denture or a dental flipper. Both are removable. The latter is generally used as a temporary replacement option while you’ are waiting on something better like a dental implant.
This blog is brought to you by Sugarland Dentist Dr. Siny Thomas.