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Avatar universal

Kind of freaking out! Cepsis? Infection? Anxiety? Or just pain...

Hey everyone... Back info: I live in Los Angeles area and just recently ironed out some problems I was having with my medi-Cal insurance. (Thank god)

So long story short (as can be), I had a tooth that cracked almost in half about 6 months ago. (Top right molar, 2 from the back) It honestly didn't hurt at all, for a long time. It even looked okay. Like it was just the outside that was chipped. Slowly though, the tooth began to turn black, (on the inside of it) and I got scared that it was an infection when it started to hurt. Headaches, anxiety,and my grandmother's voice replaying in my head of how her sister died from a tooth infection probably didn't help. I immidiately called it an infection and went to the ER (not having my insurance I couldn't afford a proper dentist). The first ER visit was short, the woman said "it doesn't look infected, here's some Tylenol 3 get outta here" but I INSISTED that I needed antibiotics, and she gave me Keflex. I took one that next morning and my head almost BURST! I called the pharmacist about it and she said "take the second" and the 2nd dose sent me right back into the ER... With pain I had never experienced before. From my head to my lower AND upper right sides of my jaw. I was literally shaking in pain, and had to have my friend bring me. They reccommended I wait in line from 3am to get seen at 9am (maybe) and gave me another weak pain killer. (NOTHING CLOSE to knocking even a PINCH of the pain I had out) and sent me on my merry way.

That was a week ago. I never took antibiotics again, because I thought maybe the first doctor was right. I have no real swelling. Or fever, or abscess that I can see... (I did have pain here and there but not badly when I stopped the Keflex) And maybe the headaches were just part of having a bad tooth ache.

Since then I've gotten my insurance straightened enough to make an appointment for friday (sadly a week or two ago when this started I couldn't make a dental appt until next month because of insurance). However, I'm still nervous because now I don't feel any pain there, still have anxiety about it, and honestly I don't feel bad, or feverish, but I don't feel normal... Plus the antibiotic thing scared me, and still does. It does taste kind of off, and I do feel tired more often than usual... I can trick myself a million ways to Texas about whether or not I'm in danger but at this point I'm just scared of the "silent killer" potential of an infection I maybe can't see?

Any advice would be appreciated... I couldn't find ANYTHING online about people being in as much pain as I was after taking Keflex. Part of me says "shut up, chill out, go to the dentist Friday". Another part of me says "you won't make it that long, but no ER will be able to do anything" and the other part says "man up and take the medication that made you feel like you were already dying" even though I don't think I can physically handle that without excessive pain meds which I don't have... I don't know... Help?

(I should also add that I am on methadone for pain management and it doesn't help either taking the Keflex) - also it doesn't help considering the meds they give me don't really measure up.

Thanks !!
3 Responses
Avatar universal
Hello. Welcome to our forum. I have no idea why kelflex caused you so much pain. Are you alergic to it? Yes toothache can be dangerous and very painful. As far as sepsis goes I just got out of hospital last week from it. It doesn't sound like you have it but I'm not a Dr. So if anything gets worse than go to urgent care or back to ER. You said a dentist appointment tomorrow definitely go to that. Take deep breath try to relax. Keep us posted. Sorry not more help. I totally understand the insurance crap, I have my own set of major issues with it so I feel for you.
7721494 tn?1431627964
Darren, I'm not sure what you're asking.

Keflex is wide spectrum antibiotic of the cephalosporin type. It should not cause pain. You are likely suffering an allergic reaction to the medication, and therefore, should not take this medication. Remember to tell your doctors and dentists that you are allergic to cephalosporins, or simply simply report your reaction to Keflex.

But you will need an antibiotic. Friday is tomorrow, so wait for the dentist to prescribe an appropriate antibiotic.

Anyone treated with methadone for chronic pain should never accept opioid prescriptions from anyone but their pain doctor for two reasons: 1) compliance with a controlled substance agreement and, 2)  the opioids usually prescribed in the ER or by dentists are ineffective in the presence of methadone.

Frankly, I am surprised that an ER physician would prescribe codeine for someone using methadone.

In order to comply with your controlled substance agreement, never  fill an opioid prescription from any prescriber other than your pain doctor.

Instead, ask your pain management doc to help with acute dental pain. A phone call to your pain doctor's nurse explaining the situation should get you an Rx for a week's supply Lyrica (pregabalin) 150 mg TID #21

Since Lyrica is not yet available in a generic, even a small Rx might be too expensive for pain patients without prescription coverage (that includes  me.) If so for you,  your doc can substitute generic gabapentin 600 mg TID for the Lyrica.

Either prescription will help control the acute neuropathic pain of extractions, root canal, tooth abscess, etc, even while using a long acting opioid for chronic pain.
Avatar universal
Thank you both. I went to the dentist and sadly they couldn't see me because of a typo in my insurance. I found out the problem (someone typed my birthday wrong) so I rescheduled and I see them next Wed. Ahhhh at this point I feel much less scared about what could be... Instead I'm just praying things are okay. It feels like a while to wait to see them again... But hey what else can I do besides check into the ER again. I have a headache whenever my tooth hurts but I don't hurt all the time. I've been feeling a bit sick, but it could be because I'm not taking the pain meds they prescribed me. It does feel pretty close to minor opiate withdrawal.

You said you just went through sepsis, what's that like? How did you know something was wrong? I keep hearing that people die with barely any warning of these things, (teeth, infections, etc) so I've been sleeping more to pass time in a healthy way till I can see the dentist.

By the way don't be surprised about the stupidity of some of these doctors at hospitals out here, they're either award winners or incompetent most of the time... Welcome to "The City of Angels" (not all angels are from heaven)

Thanks for the info guys.
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