I’ve had a fractured tooth but was putting off getting the crown. Now there is an abscess. I heard we’re supposed to put off dental care until after the quarantine is over. Do I wait on this? I’m absolutely miserable. Now my face is starting to swell. Can I just take antibiotics? What is your recommendation?
The directive is to avoid the dentist for routine procedures, depending on the state in which you reside. However, in this case, you are not dealing with anything routine. This would be in the category of emergency dental care. I wouldn’t put off getting this dealt with. Your face is already swelling, which means it has spread past your gums. If it reaches your heart, lungs, or brain it will become life-threatening quickly.
Antibiotics and Dental Infections
As for using antibiotics as a solution without seeing the dentist, that won’t work. They are used as a temporary means of getting the infection under control, but will not rid your body of the infection completely. Instead, you’ll feel better for a while, but when the antibiotics are completed, your infection will blow back up. This is because as the infection spreads through the pulp of your tooth, the pulp dies and is no longer receiving any blood flow. Without blood flow, there is no way for the antibiotic to reach the root causes of the infection.
The only true way to remove a dental infection is for the dentist to go in there and physically removed the infected tissue. There are two ways to do this. The first is with a root canal treatment. The dentist will remove the infected pulp and usually cover the tooth with a crown because it will become brittle and need protection. The depth and location of the fracture on your tooth may determine whether or not this is a possible solution for you.
Your second option is to have the tooth extracted. However, that complicates the issue because you’ll need to replace that tooth. The ideal replacement would be a dental implant. Given the current pandemic, you’d likely have to wait on that until things calm down. You can temporarily get a dental flipper to hold it in place.
This blog is brought to you by Marietta, GA Dentist Dr. Cristi Cheek.