1601 River Drive
Suite 300, Moline, IL 61265
(309) 277-3480
Beautiful Smile Makeovers, Advanced General Dentistry
Request an Appointment

Antibiotics for Tooth Infections

I have a toothache that has me so distracted I am having a hard time getting any work done. I am in the middle of a huge merger and DO NOT have time to see a dentist. I do have a doctor that will write me a prescription for just about anything. I just need to tell him what type of meds I need. Can you help me with that?

B.W.

Dear B.W.,

Man grabbing his jaw in pain

First, I’m just going to say what your doctor is doing is not only against medical ethics but super dangerous. While I am sure that it is handy to have a doctor willing to do that, I do worry. That being said, an antibiotic will not solve your problem. Instead, it will just be a temporary reprieve. Once the antibiotics run out, your tooth infection will come back with a vengeance.

The only way that you can stop a tooth infection is by having a dentist physically go in and remove the infected pulp. This is because a tooth infection kills the tooth and there is no longer blood flow to the tooth, which means the antibiotic will have no effect on the root of the infection.

You have two choices in truly dealing with a tooth infection. The first is to have a root canal treatment where the dentist goes in and removes the infected pulp. From there you are generally given a dental crown. The good news is that this saves your tooth. It is always better to have as much natural tooth structure as possible.

The second option is if the tooth cannot be saved and the decay and infection have gotten too far. When that happens, the tooth has to be extracted and you will need to replace the tooth. If that happens, I recommend you get a dental implant to replace it. That is the closest to having a healthy natural tooth in your mouth again.

I know you are short on time, but if you let this spread, it can turn from a dental emergency to a medical one. Think about how close your jaw is to your brain and heart. People still die from tooth infections because they allow the infection to spread. I know you are busy, but I really do not want you to put this off. You could call the dentist and ask him to prescribe you an antibiotic, but it will only buy you a short period of time.

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