Antibiotics for a Tooth Infection

I’ve had a tooth infection and went to see a dentist. He prescribed me antibiotics that I’ve been taking antibiotics for 11 days. I was fine for a while, but now it seems to have started acting up again. Do I just need to refill the prescription or do I need another visit to the dentist?


Dear Kevin,

A man holding his jaw in pain.

I’m hoping there was some miscommunication between you and your dentist. While the antibiotic is useful until the infection can be dealt with by a dentist, it does not eliminate the infection, as you have discovered. Once the antibiotic is completed, it doesn’t take long for the infection to rear its ugly head.

With a tooth infection, a dentist has to get in there and physically remove the infected pulp. This is typically done with either a root canal treatment or by extracting the whole tooth.

It is always better to save any tooth you can, so a root canal treatment would be the better choice if it is still possible.

If the Tooth Cannot be Saved

In the case that it has been too long and the tooth cannot be saved, it is important that you replace the tooth as quickly as possible. The longer that spot is left open, the more you will be dealing with the adjacent teeth shifting or tipping into that spot. This will throw off your bite leading to jaw pain, headaches, and even TMJ problems.

Ideally, you’ll want to have a dental implant for your replacement. It is the closest thing to having a natural tooth again. This will help you preserve the underlying bone. If that is not possible, there are other options such as a dental bridge or a removable partial denture.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Her Dentist is Putting her in Danger

I had a root canal treatment several years ago. The area started hurting again so I went in and my dentist did an x-ray and decided I needed a re-treatment. He did it right then and gave me both Vicoden and penicillin. I was fine for a bit, but maybe that was just the Vicodin. Then the pain came back with vengeance. I called him and he said some people just take longer than others to heal and to give it another couple of weeks. I’m in so much pain I can barely breathe half the time. What do you recommend?


Dear Stacy,

Woman grabbing her jaw in pain

I’m concerned about how your dentist is handling this infection. I can’t tell for sure if you got better and then worse or just got steadily worse to where the Vicodin was no longer working for you. Either way, it is a bad sign and he is putting you in danger.

Most root canal re-treatments are only successful 1/2 to 3/4 of the time. I realy think you need to see a root canal specialist at this point. He’s not taking this seriously. At the very least, he should have switched you to a stronger antibiotic when you were not better after a few days.

When you call a specialist, let them know what is going on so they can get you in for an emergency dental appointment. If they can’t get you in right away, they should at the very least prescribe a stronger prescription for you.

I’m sorry this is happening to you.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.