My mouth is swollen and I feel weak

I’ve had a toothache for 2 weeks. Now my mouth is swollen, and I feel weak.  I felt the toothache bothering me in my sleep last night, and my mouth was very dry. After I woke up this morning, I went to the bathroom and saw that the the whole left side of my face is swollen. Also, my eye is almost swollen shut.

It hurts so bad to open my mouth to brush my teeth, and I have to sip water from a straw because I can’t open it wide enough for a cup. I am starting to feel weak, too. I am terrified of the dentist which is why I am in this mess. Is there anything at all I can do to make the swelling go away without going to a dentist? I have an antibiotic that a doctor gave me for an infection in my hand that would not go away. Can I get a refill of this and help the tooth infection? – Alyson


This is not something that you can treat yourself. You have a serious tooth infection that can spread to other teeth, your jawbone, and beyond. If you feel weak, the infection may already be in your bloodstream.  Find a dentist who accepts emergency visits and likes seeing anxious patients. They will offer will understand your fear but also get you the help you need right away.

You can receive sedation to calm you for your dental procedure. The dentist will also give you an antibiotic to take after removing the infection. But you cannot get rid of the infection with an antibiotic alone.

If you need assistance, ask someone for help finding a dentist who will see you right away and offer sedation. You didn’t mention your location, but if you are nearby our office, give us a call.

Burba Dental Partners of Salem, Massachusetts sponsors this post.

Will Invisalign Break My Root Canal Tooth?

My dentist says I need a root canal on my left incisor before beginning Invisalign treatment. I was concerned about needing a crown on a front tooth that would turn yellow or dark around my gums. But my dentist explained that she does not need to place a crown after the root canal; she will fill it instead. Now I’m wondering if the tooth will break because it is weak after root canal treatment. And with Invisalign repositioning my teeth, isn’t it just a matter of time before the tooth breaks? Thanks. Jocelyn from Poughkeepsie, NY

Thank you for your question, Jocelyn. Although one of our dentists would need to examine your tooth for an accurate diagnosis, we will offer some basic information about root canals and orthodontic treatment.

Does Root Canal Treatment Weaken Teeth?

Teeth that require root canal treatment are already weak from decay, trauma, or extensive fillings. And root canal treatment can weaken them. But whether a dentist places a crown on the tooth depends on the tooth’s condition and position.

  • Back teeth – Back teeth must withstand the forces of chewing and grinding food. So, dentists protect the teeth with crowns after root canal treatment.
  • Front teeth – Fewer forces affect front teeth. It is unlikely for an incisor to split vertically, but sometimes it can break horizontally. But preparing an incisor for a dental crown can weaken the tooth near the base before its roots. If you lost most of your tooth structure or if the tooth is already cracked. A dentist can reinforce your tooth with a flexible post and fill the tooth with dental composite. Removing root canal filler material will prevent your tooth from turning dark.

Will Invisalign Break Your Root Canal Tooth?

Upper and lower Invisalign trays
Your root canal tooth must heal before starting orthodontic treatment

Your dentist will begin orthodontic treatment when your root canal tooth is stable to prevent any trauma during treatment. Healing time can take one to two months, but each patient’s case is different, so your dentist will explain what you can expect. Also, Invisalign and other types of clear aligners move teeth with precision and gently apply force on your teeth.

If you are hesitant about your dentist’s treatment recommendation, ask questions to ensure you understand them. And you can consider getting a second opinion.

The cosmetic dentists at Burba Dental Partners of Salem, Massachusetts, sponsor this post. They participate in continuing education to offer some of the best dental care in the Boston area.

My dentist wants to remove my new implant

After three consultations with implant dentists, I chose the wrong one. After implant surgery, he told me that the bone was shallower than he thought. But he still placed the implants.

A month later, my dentist took an x-ray and said the implant was not healing correctly, so he wanted to remove it. He said that we could talk about other options, but a dental bridge is one of them.

The implant is not hurting, and I am very careful not to disturb it, so I asked my dentist for time to think about it. That was two weeks ago. I still do not know what to do, but I know that I want an implant. What are my options? – Thank you. Malcom from NJ


Thank your question. We are sorry to hear about your experience with your implant dentist. We are sure that it is frustrating. However, you can get the care you need.

If Your Dentist Places an Implant in Low Bone Volume

Illustration of a dental implant
A dental implant needs enough bone to fuse

If your dentist places an implant in low volume, it probably means that they did not take three-dimensional x-rays before your surgery. The x-rays would reveal that your bone is too shallow for implants and prevent healing. Still, your dentist should not have proceeded with the surgery.

Your dentist is responsible in several ways:

  • Breached the standard of care
  • Put you at risk for infection and trauma
  • Performed faulty surgery
  • Inconvenienced you because you must seek additional care

What to Do If Your Implant Failed Due to Dentist’s Negligence

If your dental implant failed due to your dentist’s negligence, you should demand a refund. If your dentist resists, you can do several things:

  • Report the issue to the state dental board
  • Hire a malpractice attorney
  • Get a second opinion from an advanced implant dentist and use the evaluation and proof of your dentist’s negligence.

Is It Too Late for a Dental Implant?

If your dental implant failed because your dentist placed it in low bone volume, it is not too late to replace it. However, a skilled implant will need to remove your loose implant, perform bone grafting surgery, and wait for three to four months for it to heal. Afterward, you can get an implant.

Best wishes for a smooth resolution.

Burba Dental Partners of Salem, MA, sponsors this post. Please read how our doctors strive to be among the best dentists in the Boston area.

Will This Pulp Cap Work, or Will I Need a Root Canal?

Woman looking unsure of a dental procedure and looking for the best dentist for a resolution

Last month, my dentist filled two cavities. While removing the decay from the third tooth, he mistakenly exposed the pulp. He stopped trying to remove the decay and used a pulp cap to avoid root canal treatment. Before that visit, I had not heard of a pulp cap, but I had to decide rather quickly because the pulp was exposed. My dentist explained the procedure to me and e-mailed some material to me. I want another dentist’s opinion on this, though. How do I know that the pulp cap will work? Are there any symptoms I should watch for that might signal cap failure and that I will need a root canal anyway? Thank you. Lashelle from CT


Thank you for choosing our office for your question.

We will give you and our readers some background on a pulp cap.

What Is a Direct Pulp Cap?

A direct pulp cap is a procedure to protect entirely or partially exposed tooth pulp. The process allows the dentin (the layer beneath tooth enamel) to grow back and cover the pulp. It can save you time and money and help you avoid root canal treatment.

When Do You Need a Pulp Cap?

You might need a pulp cap if tooth pulp (living tissue and nerves) is exposed during decay removal. If the pulp is not infected, your dentist might be able to prevent damage to it with a pulp cap. Saving tooth pulp can help avoid the need for root canal treatment.

What Is the Pulp Cap Procedure?

During a pulp cap procedure, a dentist will take these steps::

  • Remove tooth decay
  • Apply a cotton pellet to the tooth to stop bleeding
  • Clean and dry the tooth
  • Ensure the pulp is healthy
  • Apply a biocompatible material over the pulp to seal out infection
  • Apply and bond composite filling in the tooth

If a dentist leaves decay in the tooth, it can grow slowly and infect the tooth eventually. If you are not experiencing any symptoms, we recommend not doing anything to the tooth. And if you remain symptom-free, your dentist can x-ray the tooth to see if it is still healthy. A toothache, sensitivity, or swollen gums are symptoms and signs of an infection that will lead to root canal treatment. Otherwise, your tooth should be healthy.

The cosmetic dentists at Burba Dental Partners in Salem, Massachusetts, sponsor this post. Read about their credentials and what they do to provide some of the best dental care in the Boston area.