I have had a tooth infection for two weeks. He’s given me antibiotics with a cocktail of Keflex and Flagyl. Initially, the swelling was over my whole cheek and up to my eye. It has improved. In fact, it has almost gone, but now that the antibiotics are done I am hurting again and the swelling has started back. Should I ask for a refill or do I need a different type of antibiotic?
Either you misunderstood something your dentist said or your dentist has a profound and dangerous understanding of how tooth infections work. Antibiotics are NOT a cure for a tooth infection. The most you will get from them is a temporary protection from a spreading infection while you wait for the actual treatment.
In order to get rid of a tooth infection, you have to remove the infected pulp. There are two options. First, you can have a root canal treatment done. Second, you can have a tooth extraction. A root canal treatment is the ideal solution because it will save your tooth. When a dentist prescribes an antibiotic, he should also schedule the follow up treatment and carefully explain to the patient the importance of following through.
Because we are used to using antibiotics for medical issues, patients sometimes think that is enough. Because you just had the antibiotics and not the treatment, your infection returned. I would consider your situation a dental emergency. Call your dentist back and ask the office what the plan was for the follow up treatment. Explain what is going on because at the very least he or she needs to open up the tooth to relieve the pressure and allow a place for drainage.
This blog is brought to you by Auburn, AL Dentist Dr. Alan Yount.