Last Wednesday, I saw a dentist who takes emergency patients. I don’t have a dentist of my own. My top left second molar is throbbing, and the gum around it is very swollen. It hurts just to touch it. I can’t get a toothbrush anywhere near it. The emergency dentist gave me an antibiotic, but I don’t have any relief from it at all. My tooth hurts, and my ear and face on the left side ache too. Today I started feeling a little nauseous, which is beginning to scare me and increase my anxiety. Should this antibiotic have kicked in at all, or do I still need to get help? I don’t like the idea of returning to the same dentist because he didn’t check out my tooth thoroughly. He just rushed me out of the office with a prescription like he had an emergency of his own. Thanks for your help. Franz P. from Nashville, TN
Franz – If you have no improvement with your tooth and are not pleased with the treatment you received last week, quickly but carefully find another dentist.
What Should You Do When a Toothache Doesn’t Improve?
When a throbbing toothache does improve, it is infected. It will not improve until a dentist removes the infection with root canal treatment. Although a dentist gives you antibiotics, the medication does not remove an infection from your tooth.
- During root canal therapy, a dentist will do the following
- Apply a topic anesthetic to numb your gums
- Inject a local anesthetic
- Make a small opening in your tooth
- Clean out the infection
- Disinfect the tooth
- Replace the tooth pulp with a dental filler material
- Seal the tooth
- Protect it with a temporary crown
- Order a lab-made crown
Look for a dentist experienced with root canal treatment and explain your anxiety. The dentist will examine and x-ray your tooth, confirm the diagnosis, and explain your options for sedation to help you relax. Dentists experienced in root canal treatment are gentle and make treatment painless. Don’t delay. The infection will worsen and get more painful with time.
Dr. David Finley, a Monroe, Louisiana dentist and Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, sponsors this post. Read about Dr. Finley’s commitment to providing patients with some of the best dental care in Monroe.