I might have a tooth abscess, but I am not sure. I went to urgent care over the weekend. They gave me an antibiotic for a possible infection. The PA looked at my tooth, but they said the gum seemed slightly irritated. They gave me discharge papers that say I need to see a dentist, but I don’t understand why. If the infection goes away, I am satisfied. Why pay more to have a dentist look at my tooth and tell me everything looks good?
Last year I had an infection, but it wasn’t a tooth infection. Still, the antibiotics knocked it completely out in 2-3 weeks. So, I am thinking about giving the tooth the same amount of time, and I should be good. My girlfriend told me I shouldn’t take that kind of chance. I really think the antibiotic will work. Is this an emergency, and do I still need to see a dentist? Nick from Delaware
Nick – Your girlfriend is right. A dentist needs to examine your tooth. Even though you may not have a regular dentist, you can find a dentist who accepts emergency appointments. An emergency dentist will likely ask you to come to the office immediately.
Are Antibiotics Enough for a Tooth Infection?
Although antibiotics can prevent a tooth infection from worsening, the condition will not go away. Only root canal treatment can get rid of the infection.
What Can You Expect with Root Canal Treatment?
A dentist will complete these steps:
- Make a small opening in the crown of your tooth
- Use tiny instruments to remove the tooth pulp and infection
- Disinfect the tooth
- Use a dental filler material to replace the tooth pulp
- Seal the tooth
- Place a temporary crown on the tooth until a new crown is ready
A dental crown protects the tooth from further decay or damage.
An untreated infection can spread to other teeth, your jawbone, and in the worst case, into your bloodstream. Find a dentist who can see you quickly, and get the tooth examined and treated right away. Don’t wait two or three weeks to see if the infection clears.
Dr. Steve Sirin, an Elgin, Illinois dentist, sponsors this post.