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Old 03-30-2009, 10:02 AM   #1
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antibiotics didn't clear up my wisdom tooth infection

I developed what I believed to be an infection in the gum surrounding one partially erupted wisdom tooth (lower jaw) last week and went to the dentist. She prescribed a week's course of antibiotics. I'm now at the end of that course and have little improvement - the pain is a little less, but its still very swollen and I can't clench my teeth together because of the pain (the upper tooth presses on the swollen area when I chew), which is making eating difficult. I think there might be pus collecting.

I called my dentist today and she made me an appointment to go back. However, I am reluctant to spend more money (even at NHS prices) for her just to say wait and see, or take more antibiotics - I'm fed up of antibiotics! I told her on the phone that I was worried it was an abscess, but she dismissed this.

At my appointment last week the dentist said she was reluctant to remove the infected tooth and/or the one above it, because of the surgery involved, although I have previously experienced surgery under sedation having the partially erupted tooth on the other side of my mouth removed last year (at the order of a different dentist) and know what to expect. For that problem, removal was the best solution and I'm glad I did it. In the long run I think removal would be much better, as I anticipate many future infections in the problem tooth in future.

How can I persuade the dentist I want the tooth/teeth removed?

Alternatively, is it worth me sitting tight and waiting for the swelling and pain to go away by themselves, despite the ineffectiveness of the antibiotics?

Last edited by brunettie101; 03-30-2009 at 10:03 AM.

 
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:05 PM   #2
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Re: antibiotics didn't clear up my wisdom tooth infection

From what you describe, you have pericoronitis, which results from the upper wisdom tooth biting directly on the gums over the lower wisdom tooth. This both irritates the gums and pushes food and bacteria into the area constantly, causing the infection to get worse. I am not sure how NHS or other european systems work, but the treatment of choice in the US would be to remove the upper tooth, put you on antibiotics, and then come back and remove the lower after the area stops getting abused by the removed upper tooth.

The problem with national health care or HMOs is the doctors are usually paid per patient and not per procedure, which really decreases the incentive to do actual work. The only suggestion I might have is refuse to pay if the dentist will not take out a tooth at your next appt, there is no dental reason she should not at least remove the upper.

Do not wait, if it really is pericoronitis, the problem will only get worse.

 
Old 03-31-2009, 11:15 AM   #3
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Re: antibiotics didn't clear up my wisdom tooth infection

Thanks for your response...I went to the dentist today and made sure I put my case strongly, that the problem has not gone away, there's still a lot of swelling. She looked and decided that the upper tooth needs to be removed - hurray! I'm going in on Thursday for extraction under local anaesthetic.

The dentist said most of the inflamation and pain now is being caused by the upper tooth pressing on the lower, and she said there was less sign of any ulcer or infection in the lower gum. It's also easier to get the upper tooth out, the lower would require hospital treatment and sedation. So hopefully removing the upper tooth will solve the problem, but wait and see on the lower tooth and if problems reccur then that'll have to come out too.

I also got Corsodyl antibacterial mouthwash.

 
Old 03-31-2009, 01:59 PM   #4
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Re: antibiotics didn't clear up my wisdom tooth infection

The mouthwash will help. I am glad they agreed to take out that top tooth, although still odd they did not do it that day, fully erupted upper wisdom teeth are simple to remove.
Any oral surgeon should be able to remove the lower tooth, which is usually an office (not hospital) visit in the US, not sure if thats just the NHS or your dentist.
Either way, I am glad you are finally getting treated! Good luck.

 
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