I had a root canal done a while back. After that, I hit some financial difficulties and didn’t have the crown placed. I think I have a tooth infection now. As we’re not supposed to go to the dentist anymore, what antibiotic should I ask my doctor to call in for me?
While I understand your thought process, this isn’t going to work. Tooth infections are unique. Antibiotics alone will not solve them. A dentist has to physically go in and remove the infected pulp. This can be done through a either a root canal treatment or by removing the tooth itself.
Ideally, you want to save as many teeth as you can, therefore a root canal treatment is a better option. While most governors have closed down dental offices for all routine care, this isn’t routine. Patients are allowed to get treatment for dental emergencies.
Why Don’t Antibiotics Treat Tooth Infections?
The medicine in an antibiotic reaches you through your blood stream. With a tooth infection, it is the pulp of the tooth which needs the medication. However, due to infection, the pulp dies. This prevents the antibiotic from reaching the root of the infection.
The antibiotics will help, but once they are completed, the infection will flare back up and spread again. This is why the pulp has to be removed.
Go ahead and call your dentist. They’ll make arrangements for you to come in for an emergency appointment. I know you’re likely concerned about any COVID-19 transmission. Don’t worry. Dentists don’t want the virus any more than you do and will be taking all the precautions recommended by the CDC for their own protection as well as yours.
Hopefully, the dentist can save your tooth and it will just need to be cleaned out a bit and given a dental crown. If the tooth can’t be saved, your dentist will extract it and arrange for a consultation about some tooth replacement options. For a single tooth, the best replacement is a dental implant.
This blog is brought to you by Hoffman Estates Dentist Dr. William Becker.