Theriot Family Dental

How to Die From a Tooth Infection

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I am deathly afraid of the dentist and haven’t been in years. My teeth have always seemed healthy. At least, I had not had any problems with them. A few weeks ago I was attacked. Somehow, they managed to strip a piece of my enamel off. It didn’t take long before my tooth started hurting pretty bad. Now I’ve got a pimple on the bottom of my gum that seems to be the source of the pain. If I went to my doctor, would he be able to give me an antibiotic to deal with this? I’m still not to sure how I’d do in a dental chair.


Dear Gwyneth,

Woman grabbing her jaw in pain

I’m glad you wrote. That pimple on your gum means you have an abcessed tooth. This is definitely a tooth infection. I have a solution for you that will address your dental anxiety. First, I want you to understand the seriousness of the situation. People still die from tooth infections. The National Library of Medicine showed that between 2000-2008 sixty-six people died from tooth infections.

Just a few years ago, a long haul truck drive had a tooth ache before he left for his route. During the trip, he stopped in with a dentist who prescribed him an antibiotic. It helped for a while, but once the antibiotics ran out, his infection flared back up. He ended up in too much pain to drive, and his brother came to pick him up and brought him to a hospital. The infection has spread to his blood and lungs and despite being at a state of the heart hospital, they were unable to save him.

Why Isn’t an Antibiotic Enough?

Once the tissue inside the tooth is dead, there is not blood flow. That means that the antibiotic cannot reach the source of the infection. An antiobiotic is only designed to old off the infection for a few days until you can get the real treatment. As soon as the antibiotics run out the infection returns.

The only true way to deal with a tooth infection is by a dentist going in and physically removing the infected pulp of the tooth. There are two ways to do this. First, is with a root canal treatment. This is the preferred method because it will save your tooth. The second is by extracting the tooth. However, if you do that, then you need to replace it. While there have been incredible advancements in tooth replacements, such as dental implants, they are expensive.

Getting Treatment with Dental Anxiety

A woman asleep in a chair relaxing with dental sedation.

Something that has been life changing for patients with dental anxiety is seeing a sedation dentist. There are several levels of sedation that can completely relax you and allow you to get the treatment you need in a way that will be both anxiety free as well as pain free. In fact, oral conscious sedation is also dubbed sleep dentistry because patients are so relaxed they end up sleeping through the entire procedure.

You need to get this tooth attended to for your own safety. Getting it done with a sedation will make it a breeze for you.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. John Theriot.
We also have a dental office in Baton Rouge.