Category Archives: Emergency Dentist

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.

Can’t Afford to Get Infected Tooth Removed


I think I have a dental emergency. One of my teeth is throbbing with pain. I think I need a root canal, however, I cannot afford one. Should I wait to see a dentist when I can, or go see an emergency dentist immediately? It is really painful, I’m not sure how much longer I can deal with the swelling.

Mallick, from Trenton, New Jersey


Hi Mallick,

If it is swelling that much, you need immediate assistance. If you cannot go see your dentist, you will need to see someone who can do your root canal. If you cannot afford this, you will need to go see an emergency dentist.

If you do not see an emergency dentist for the infection, you run the risk of the infection spreading. An oral infection can spread to the heart or brain, and once it does, it can cause severe consequences and even death.

Also, do not take antibiotics without a treatment plan. The overuse of antibiotics can cause side effects, such as leading to treatment-resistant infections. Once the infection can no longer be treated with antibiotics, it will become more dangerous and more difficult to eradicate.

This blog post is brought to you by Phoenix emergency dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck, of Peck Family Dentistry.

Is a cracked porcelain crown an emergency?

My front teeth have had porcelain crowns for many years. The left one has had a small imperfection on it all this time, but is was not visible to the eye. However, I am now beginning to see it and am able to feel it. I worry that the crown will soon break and I will lose it. If replacing the crown is necessary, I’ll go that route, but want to be sure this is not something for which I should see an emergency dentist.

Thank you,

Dear Eric,

While this is not an emergency, it would be a good idea to find an experienced cosmetic dentist and have the crown replaced. If not, you are correct, you will chance it completely breaking.

You mentioned that, while your crown has always had a slight imperfection, you were unable to see it or feel it. This is called a craze line. Teeth and porcelain have these and they are typically no reason for concern. However, you mentioned that you are now able to see the defect, as well as feel it. This indicates there has been movement which has resulted in the now visible difference in the surface of the crown.

Once a cosmetic dentist has the opportunity to assess the crowns, he or she may suggest replacing all of them, due to their age, or just the one. If just the one crown is replaced, the color-matching skill of the dentist will need to be excellent, in order to ensure the new crown matches the original ones. Do be cautious if you are told that the only way to ensure a perfect color match is to replace all of the crowns. That is a clear sign that the dentist does not have the skill-set to match the new crown to the original one.

This post is sponsored by Phoenix emergency dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.

Should my son see an emergency dentist for his wisdom teeth?

I am concerned that my son needs to visit an emergency dentist. His wisdom teeth have been causing him a great deal of pain for the last several days. They are even preventing him from eating. I encouraged him to make an appointment with an emergency dentist, but he didn’t see the need, stating that it happens sometimes. He did let me take a quick glance. While I couldn’t see the tooth, I did notice the gums are swollen up around the tooth. He is convinced this is completely normal and the tooth just hasn’t pushed all the way through yet. Is this something you see often? Or, should I continue to encourage him to see an emergency dentist?

Thank you,

Dear Kristi,
Everyone is different. Some people have wisdom teeth break through later in life, while others never get them, or need them to be extracted. The most important piece to this is how the wisdom teeth come in and the amount of space around them. These teeth can cause problems because there is little room for them. They force other teeth out of the way and move everything. It is difficult to clean these teeth, not only because of the cramped space, but because the gums are still covering some of the wisdom teeth. Infections and tooth decay can occur when the gums lift up enough for food and bacteria to enter and become trapped.

Wisdom teeth can also cause pain in other, more typical, ways. Sometimes, when they push the surrounding teeth out of the way, that can cause those teeth to hurt, though sometimes the pain is just in one area. Yet other times, the pain stays in one area. They can also cause sinus, jaw, and ear pain. A general dentist would probably suggest the teeth be taken out. However, because you are noticing swollen gums, it could be a symptom of an infection. In addition, if the pain is so intense that it is preventing eating, there is certainly a problem. Both of these symptoms yield a reason to see an emergency dentist if he doesn’t have a general dentist who can see him very soon. If there is, in fact, an infection, it is crucial he be seen today.

This article is sponsored by Phoenix emergency dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.

Why Doesn’t My Dentist Consider My Broken Crown an Emergency?

I was flossing my teeth and my temporary crown broke. My dentist has an emergency line. I called him and told him what happened. I wanted to come in right then,, but he said to come in the morning and he’d try to work me in. Why doesn’t he consider it an emergency?

Katie S.

Dear Katie,

If you had some other symptoms, such as pain, swelling, or a fever then it would be a true dental emergency. I wouldn’t be too upset at your dentist. He is having you come in first thing in the morning. They’ll make you a priority. They do understand how important it is and will place a new temporary.

It’s not uncommon for a temporary crown to break. They aren’t as strong as their permanent replacements. Now, if your dentist would have said see you in a week, then I would have said he’s being neglectful. Seeing you first thing in the morning sounds like he cares.

I know you’re worried. It’s scary being the patient and having something not go according to plan. But, just sleeping overnight won’t damage the natural tooth which is there. Your dentist wouldn’t put you at risk.

Just don’t take any unnecessary risks like eating on the damaged tooth.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.



Please Tell My Boyfriend He Needs An Emergency Dentist

My boyfriend is in so much pain he can’t eat. He still has his wisdom teeth at 24. The gums are swollen. He insists it happens periodically and goes away. It looks like one of his gums has a flap in it. That could be the problem but I think a dentist needs to look at it. I don’t know how to convince him to go.

Liz B. – Montana


You may not be able to convince him, but you’re right, he needs to be seen. “Normal” pain for wisdom teeth would be aching in the arches. That happens because the other teeth are being pushed. However, even if it was normal pain, if it’s recurring it’s a good idea to remove the wisdom teeth. If he was under the care of a general dentist they’d have told him that.

Your boyfriend’s pain is not normal. In fact, it’s dangerous. This could blow up into an infection quickly. It likely already is one, given that he’s in so much pain he can’t eat. This infection needs to be dealt with. If he doesn’t already have a dentist he needs to be seen by an emergency dentist. People still die from tooth infections. They can blow up quickly and then it’s too late. Just this past February, there was a news story about a 26-year-old father of two, in California, who died because the infection from his tooth spread to his lungs. People often underestimate how essential proper dental care is.

That gum flap you described could be a big part of the problem. It may be opening just enough for food to get trapped in there. If so, bacteria will thrive and spread, causing an infection. It’s likely they’ll recommend their removal.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.

My Face is Swelling Near My Dental Implant

My dental implant has been feeling odd lately. It started hurting and now the surrounding gum feels bouncy. Now my jaw is hurting and it’s painful to eat. The dentist who did my implant is out of town. Do you have a recommendation on how I can take care of this?

Lucy D. – Montana


I’m a bit concerned about the situation you’re in. You’ve got an infection at your dental implant site. If this isn’t dealt with immediately two very bad things can happen.

1. You could die. I know it sounds ridiculous in the twenty-first century, but it still happens that people die from tooth infections. In fact, just this past February a 40-year-old man in California died when his tooth infection spread to his lungs. An equally great risk is your heart or brain, because of their proximity to your teeth.

Don’t think this can be treated just by taking antibiotics. Many people make that mistake and end up in quite the dental emergency pickle. Antibiotics will forestall the infection, but the only way to truly get rid of it is for the dentist to get in there and remove the infected portion.

2. Your implant can fail. If the infection really gets hold, you could lose the implant. If that happens, you can’t just get a new implant. You’ll need to have bone grafting done, then start all over with surgery and healing time, then finally get your implant crown again.

This needs to be dealt with right away. I do realize your dentist is out of town, but I”m sure he has some procedures in place for dental emergencies. If not, then you can just do a Google search for an emergency dentist.

If you get the care you need soon, you’ll have a much better chance of saving your implant.

Now that I”ve likely completely depressed you (sorry about that), let me cheer you up. Once your implant site is healthy, you’re going to love having it as a tooth replacement. Nothing comes closer to having a healthy, natural tooth back. I’m sure your dentist has told you this as well, but you’ll be able to eat, brush, and floss normally. No restrictions.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.

Is There Affordable Dentistry for the Unemployed?

My dad was laid off, after 30+ years with the same company. Can you believe that? It’s so annoying. Now he has a toothache he’s hiding, but I’ve noticed. He’s a proud man and won’t accept help from me. I know him enough to know that he’s trying to wait it out until he finds employment again. I’m worried whatever the problem is will grow and spread. Is there a way to get him affordable dentistry?

Abigail L. – Delaware


I love that you’re looking out for your father. I also like he’s a man who likes to stand on his own two feet. However, you’re right. He needs to get this treated. It can blow up into an infection and infections spread. Even in the 21st century, people die from tooth infections. He has a couple of options, though.

First, he could just go to his normal dentist. Even if he’s not what you’d normally consider an “affordable dentist“, if your father’s been a long time patient, he’ll almost certainly work with him on payments.

If your father’s dentist is inflexible and doesn’t do payment plans, it’s perfectly acceptable for him to see another dentist in emergency situations. This definitely qualifies as a dental emergency. Many emergency dentists also have payment plans. They do that because they realize people end up with tooth infections when they avoid the dentist because of cost. They’ll either have in-office payment plans or use Care Credit.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.

Can I Self-Medicate Before Going to the Dentist’s Office?

I’m not a fan of the dentist. But, I’ve got a toothache and need to go. I have a valium prescription. Can I just take one of those before I go in? Also, I don’t have a dentist. Is there a secret passcode to get in quickly?

Stina L. – Georgia


We’ll start with the secret passcode. Generally, if you tell a dentist you have a dental emergency they’ll try hard to fit you in. Most dentists are compassionate and got into the field because they want to help people.

Now, if you get that appointment we need to help you with your anxiety. While you can take valium, it will affect what your dentist is able to do. Some medications he’ll need to give you could be contraindicative for valium. I have a solution for you, though.

When you google for emergency dentists, look for one who also does sedation dentistry. This is actually better than valium. Depending on the type of sedation used, it can give you a completely relaxed, pain-free experience.

If, for some reason, you decide to just take the valium instead be sure you let the dentist know you took some, along with any other medication in your system. Even tell him about over-the-counter medication. It’s important you do that. It could save your life.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.