I went to the dentist a few days ago and learned that I have a small tooth infection. My dentist wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic and told me to not start the medication until a week before my appointment, but he can’t see me for close to four weeks. I have read in several places that a tooth infection can spread to your brain. I asked him about this and he told me that my infection is so small it won’t matter to wait. Is this putting me in danger?
I am glad that you are reading about dental care and understand the danger of untreated tooth infections. While a tooth infection can get out of control and spread to your brain, or even spread to your heart, throat, or lungs, depending on where it is, I don’t think you are in danger.
Some tooth infections are so small that you will have no trouble waiting a few weeks before getting it treated. If you suddenly end up in some pain or swelling develops, that is a sign it is spreading. In that case, I would call your dentist and tell him there has been a significant change. In that case, he will probably have you start the antibiotic and then schedule you an urgent dental care appointment.
I don’t want you worrying, though. Almost every time, a small infection remains under control for quite a while before it becomes an issue. Yours was so small that you were not even aware it was there until your dental appointment. Unless something dramatically changes, which as I said is unlikely, you are perfectly safe waiting.
The danger comes with patients who avoid the dentist and either try to push through the pain they’re in or who think they can just take antibiotics and be done. Antibiotics do NOT cure a tooth infection. They simply temporarily hold it at bay.
If Dental Anxiety Keeps You From the Dentist
For the benefit of others who may be reading this, I have often found that most people who avoid the dentist do so because they have had a traumatic experience there. This makes the idea of a dentist terrifying to them. If you are in that position, I want to provide a great solution for you.
If you see a sedation dentist, they can provide you with a medication that will completely relax you. In fact, many people call it sleep dentistry because they end up sleeping throughout the entire procedure. You’ll also find that dentists who offer sedation options are more compassionate toward fearful patients. They will not judge you even if it has been years since you’ve been to the dentist.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington, KY Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Fred Arnold.