Toothache, ask the dental doctor
Posted On May 13, 2022
Dear Doctor, We left town on the 4th of July and I had a bad toothache, the tooth had been sensitive for a couple of months because a filling fell out, but I ignored it and hoped it would go away. , it did not. Long story short, I had to see a dentist out of town who took an x-ray and informed me that I needed a root canal because I had an infection and abscess at the tip of the root, he said if I didn’t do it I would have to do it. Pull out my tooth, can’t I just take antibiotics? How did I get this infection?
Dear Don, it seems you didn’t have much of a vacation. I can only speak in generalities, since I have not examined you. However, he mentioned that he had been in pain for several months prior to this episode and that an existing filling had fallen out of his tooth. In my practice, dental caries is the most common cause of an inflamed pulp, [pulpitis]. When active decay is present in a tooth, it continues to infect the tooth deeper and deeper until it hits the nerve; once the bacteria reaches the root, it can travel down the root and form an area of infection called an abscess. You never know if your cavity is going to break down quickly to the nerve or slowly, but once it reaches the nerve, the damage is done and a root canal or tooth will need to be removed. The tooth will be extremely painful and sensitive until something is done. The antibiotics you mentioned will help clear the infection, but because the source of the infection is still present, the infection and pain will reoccur. Don, the good news is that most teeth today can be saved with root canal therapy, when performed by an experienced dentist.
The moral of the story is vigilance; If you notice something out of the ordinary in your mouth, don’t ignore it. My professional experience has shown that
Little problems that are ignored will only get worse, cause more pain and cost more!
Better smiles for everyone,
Dr. Juan Ruso
Director of Dental Care Russo
San Bruno, Calif.