Theriot Family Dental

My Tooth is Killing Me and My Dentist is Closed

Posted by writeradmin

I don’t know what happened. I had a tooth that my dentist was watching and suddenly it is Friday night and that tooth is killing me. Of course, the dentist is closed. I don’t know if I can wait until Monday. The pain is just too much. Can I go to an ER?


Dear Madison,

Woman grabbing her jaw in pain

I’m glad you wrote. An ER will not help you. They do not treat dental issues. The most you’ll probably get out of them is some expensive x-rays and a $400 ibuprofen. Then they’ll tell you to see your dentist. Helpful, right?

Because this appears to be a tooth infection that blew up rather quickly, my recommendation is that you contact your dentist. Most dentists will come in during off hours if an established patient has a dental emergency, such as yours.

Their priority will be diagnosing the problem and getting you out of pain. They may even prescribe an antibiotic to hold you over until the full treatment can be done.

What Is the Treatment for a Tooth Infection?

Ideally, the tooth can be saved. In that case, your dentist will do a root canal treatment. This will require removing all the infected pulp from the tooth and filling it with some other material. Often, this requires a dental crown as well because the tooth will lose strength with the root canal and you don’t want to risk more damage to the tooth structure.

If the tooth cannot be saved, then the only thing to do is a tooth extraction and replacement. I know it is tempting to just leave the space there if it is a back tooth, but please don’t do that. The other teeth will drift into that spot and it will completely throw off your bite. This can lead you down the path to TMJ Disorder which causes pain in your jaw and regular migraines. Replacing the tooth will be your best option for staying out of pain in the long run.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. John Theriot.