Endodontist Questions Cavities

I let a cavity go way too far, and it's causing a lot of pain. What should I do?

The obvious answer is go to the dentist, I know. But I have an appointment soon, and I just want to limit the amount of pain around the area until then. What do you recommend? Would this tooth also need to be extracted because it's rotting?

8 Answers

You need to see a root canal specialist to evaluate the condition of your nerve and if the tooth is restorable or not.
I recommend seeing a dentist to evaluate the area. If there is an active infection, a dentist will prescribe antibiotics. You can return on a later date for treatment. Avoid strenuous activities, stay elevated-- bend with your knees, use extra pillows when sleeping, apply a cold compress to the cheek area, avoid hot/cold foods if you have temperature sensitivity, and if you have no conflicts with taking Ibuprofen then most patient's can take up to 800 mg Ibuprofen every 6-8 hours.
Till you get to a dentist, avoid anything cold, hot, or chewing on that side. If the decay is extensive and the tooth cannot be be restored back to normal in spite of different options, then you would be advised an extraction.
See your dentist ASAP. The need for extraction vs. root canal treatment can be determined then.
The quickest way to get out of pain is to visit your dentist as soon as possible, so he or she can figure out the problem and recommend the best course of action, whether it be a filling, crown, root canal, a crown, an extraction, or any combination of the above. That can only be determined after a thorough clinical examination and current xrays. In the meantime, the most effective way to control the pain is to take pain medication, to avoid chewing on the tooth in question, and to keep it as clean as possible.
You can try over-the-counter pain relievers unless your physician has informed you not to take them. Otherwise, try to get in to see your dentist sooner as an emergency. The fate of your tooth will depend on how severely it is decayed and if there is enough tooth structure to rebuild it. My advice is to inform the dentist that you are in pain and need to be seen as an emergency.

Good luck!

Brett E. Gilbert, D.D.S.
Pain? Rotting tooth? See an endodontist for evaluation. Endodontists (root canal specialists) save teeth and eliminate pain. Pulling a tooth should be last resort if necessary. For your individual case, an exam is required to determine if the tooth can be saved or needs to be pulled. An endodontist deals with the tough cases all the time. If a general dentist says that the root canal is too difficult and cannot be done, again, see an endodontist who specializes in treating teeth that the general dentist cannot or is unable or unwilling to treat.
You need to get to a dentist ASAP and have it evaluated. The problem will only get worse.

Any time you put off a filling you are asking for trouble. They will continue to get worse and worse over time, possibly causing the need for a root canal, or even extraction due to not enough tooth left.