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Jaw Bone Infection and Possible Root Canal
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Questions in the Dental Health forum are answered by Dr. Jerome Tsang. Topics covered include bridges, cavities, crowns, and x-rays.

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Jaw Bone Infection and Possible Root Canal

I had a deep dental cavity filled that was close to the nerve.(along with 6 other cavities filled).  A week and a half later I began to have pain at my jaw joint and thought I had developed TMJ from all the dental work.  My dentist was out of town, so I went to my GP.  He prescribed a muscle relaxant and ibuprophen.  The pain continued to worsen and spread throughout my jaw.  I finally was prescribed antibiotics by a different dentist I saw.  He said my  tooth was dead and would need a root canal.  He prescribed an antiobiotic.  All the pain that everyone, including me, thought was TMJ and nerve pain went away.  Obviously, I had an infection that spread to my jawbone.  I have a root canal scheduled with an endodontist for Weds.  Now I wonder if it is necessary, since I am no longer in pain.  I do still have some discomfort in my ear.  Can I cancel the root canal and wait to see how my tooth feels?  I am concerned about doing it when I still probably have some infection in the area.  I am taking 500mg of Keflex 4 times a day.  The second dentist also didn't realize the jaw joint pain was an infection.  No one seems to know anything.  The endodontist is in a town 2 1/2 hours from here, so I must make up my mind quickly.  Can you help?  Thank you so much.
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
If in fact you have a tooth that has a dead nerve then you MUST see the endodontist. While the antibiotics may control the symptoms it will not cure the non vital tooth. The RCT is necessary.
3 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
the endodntist should check the vitality of the tooth before doing a root canal. if your "infection" (if that's what it was) was from the tooth, then all the antibiotics did was settle it down. it will come back if the tooth has a dead, dying, or infected nerve. If the tooth tests vital, and you have no pain, then i would not get a root canal done at this time.  ps your pain may not have been fom an infection--- you may have had post op pain from the injections, trauma to the gum tissue, localized infection in the gum tissue, stress on the musculature from keeping your mouth open etc. it may have been a coincdence that you got better while on the antibiotics. again, ask the endodntist to check the vitaltity of the tooth in question and other teeth in the area for that matter.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you very much for your responses to my question.  The tooth is dead.  The second dentist I went to tested it and I didn't feel the nerve, as I did when he froze the other teeth.  I just am not in pain anymore and the tooth isn't sensitive to hot or cold.  It actually doesn't have any of the normal symptoms that I've ready about for needing a root canal, so I thought I could wait to see if all the infection was truly gone.  I guess I will keep the appointment with the endodontist.
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A related discussion, wisdomtooth and bone infection was started.
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Jerome Tsang, DDSBlank
Irvine Modern Dentistry
Irvine, CA
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