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Is a Tooth Infection Serious?

Posted by writeradmin

I have an issue I need some advice on. A while ago a broke a back tooth. It isn’t the wisdom tooth, but the one directly before it. I think it may have gotten infected. I have a lot of pain and now my jaw is a bit swollen. It hurts all the way up to my temple. I don’t have a lot of money and don’t want to have a tooth pulled if it is just my sinuses acting up, or if the infection is no big deal. I took some antibiotics and that helped for a short time, but now it’s hurting again. A friend of mine told me that tooth infections are dangerous and I need to get seen right away, but she’s the overly careful sort.


Dear Drew,

Man grabbing his jaw in pain, in need of an emergency dentist

Your friend is correct. A tooth infection is serious. Based on how you described things, you definitely have an infected tooth. If it were you sinuses, it would not impact your jaw but the area above the upper teeth. Because the pain is all the way up to your temple tells me that this infection is spreading. You have a dental emergency on your hands. You do not want to leave this tooth untreated and then end up with it spreading to your brain, or moving downward toward your throat and cutting off your air passage.

Antibiotics won’t work. When it comes to infected teeth, they only help keep the infection at bay. Even then, they only work until you run out of medicine. Then the infection picks up speed again. There are two ways to get rid of a tooth infection. The first is with a root canal treatment. This has the benefit of being able to save the tooth.

The second option is to have this tooth extracted. If you do that, you will need to have the tooth replaced. Otherwise your other teeth will shift or drift into that spot, throwing off your bite. That can lead to a sore jaw, headaches, or even painful TMJ Disorder. The best tooth replacement is a dental implant, but they are expensive. The cheapest option is a dental flipper, but they are meant to be temporary. You could use it until you were able to save up for a dental implant.

As for your infected tooth and low income, many dentists are compassionate. If you explain your situation up front, you may be able to find a dentist willing to work with you financially.

This blog is brought to you by Arnold, MD Dentist Dr. Meredith Esposito.