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Delayed Treatment for an Infected Wisdom Tooth

I had some minor pain in a back tooth and went to see my dentist. He told me a wisdom tooth is infected. He gave me some antibiotics and referred me to a specialist. The antibiotics were very helpful. When the specialist saw me, he recommended I remove all of my wisdom teeth but he cannot schedule me for about a month. Since then, the antibiotics have run out and I can feel the pain coming back. Will he be able to treat me if the infection is back?


Dear MaryAnne,

Man grabbing his jaw in pain

While you cannot rely on antibiotics alone to solve a tooth infection, in your case, it will be okay to call the specialist and tell him you have run out and need enough to get you through until your procedure. Let him know that you can already tell the infection is returning. He should have no problem writing you a refill on your prescription.

Do not wait to get it refilled. These infections are serious. Generally, they require urgent dental care, but it is okay to keep the infection at bay in the short term with medication. As I mentioned before, it will not heal the infection. The only way to do that is to physically remove the infected pulp of the tooth. Without proper treatment, this can turn life threatening. Our jaws are quite close to our brains and throats. You don’t want the infection reaching either of those places.

To remove the infected pulp there are two treatments: a root canal treatment and a tooth exraction. Generally, a root canal treatment is preferred in order to save a tooth. It is unnecessary on a wisdom tooth, however. This is because you can remove a wisdom tooth without needing to replace it.

This blog is brought to you by Moline Dentist Dr. Thomas Goebel.

I Can Smell My Husband’s Dental Implants?

Can you help me? My husband is in the middle of the all-on-4 dental implant process. The implants are in and he has some acrylic dentures. There are porcelain ones coming. However, the smell of his mouth right now, makes me gag like you would not believe. I can even sleep in the same bed with him anymore. I am positive I can smell his metal implants. I’d like him to switch them out for the non-metal kind. I’ve heard that there are now zirconia dental implants. I think those would be better and not smell as badly. His dentist said he wouldn’t do it. Can we switch dentists to have this done? Can you tell me anything to help convince my husband this is a good idea?

Sunny W.


An illustration of all-on-four dental implants

I’m sorry for the stuggle you are having with the smell, but I do not believe the dental implants are the cause of it. Traditional metal implants are made from titanium. These are very inert. Even exposed to the air you would be hardpressed to smell them. Embedded deep in your husband’s bone, it is even more unlikely that you’d be able to smell them.

There are countless reasons why your husband’s mouth could be exuding that smell. The most likely culprit is the acrylic denture. It’s possible food is getting caught in and around it. Assuming he regularly brushes and flosses, I would start by having your husband use a Waterpik to help with his flossing. It is a bit trickier when you are dealing with dental work in addition to your natural teeth.

Why You Would Not Want to Re-do Dental Implants

If you have a successful dental implant case, as it seems your husband does, you do not want to re-do it. This is because it is not simply a matter of taking out one group of dental implants and replacing them with another. First, when you remove the implants, there will be bone structure that comes with it. Unfortunately, that bone sturcutre is necessary in order to retain the dental implants.

This means an additional surgery of bone grafting will have to be performed so the necessary support structure can be built back up. After that has time to heal, then it will be time for his next implant placement.

In total, that is three additional surgeries your husband would have to undergo in order to switch out these implants. I would recommend looking for other, less invasive causes and solutions first.

This blog is brought to you by Moline Dentist Dr. Goebel.