I have an abscessed tooth. I just want to go to my doctor and get an antibiotic, but my wife keeps insisting I see a dentist instead. Why can’t I just take an antibiotic like I would for any other type of medical infection?
People often think antibiotics will heal an infection. This is a misconception. What the antibiotics do is help. They hold the infection at bay while your body fights the infection. Dental infections have an added complication. When the infection is in the pulp of your tooth it swells.
In the tooth, there’s nowhere for the swelling to go, so it spills out creating an abscess. Unfortunately, the pulp dies as a result. An antibiotic only works where there is blood flow. Once the pulp of the tooth dies, there is no longer any blood flow and no way to fight the infection, which grows and spreads even stronger.
A dentist has to go in and physically remove the infection with a procedure known as a root canal treatment. Often, this also requires a dental crown.
Tooth Infections are Dental Emergencies
You don’t want to put this off. A tooth infection is considered a dental emergency. Believe it or not, people still die from tooth infections even in the 21st century. If you think about how close your jaw is to your heart and brain, it makes sense how this can become life threatening quickly.
If Dentists Make You Nervous
If you have dental anxiety, you are not alone. Don’t let this keep you from getting your infection dealt with. I have a great solution for you which will give you a pain-free/stress-free appointment.
If you don’t have a regular dentist, look for a dentist who treats non-established patients in cases of emergencies, but look for one which also uses dental sedation. This is a simple pill you can take which will make your appointment super easy. In fact, most patients are so relaxed they completely sleep through the appointment.
This blog is brought to you by Libertyville Dentist Dr. David Potts.