For the past two months, I have had cheek and jaw pain from an upper right tooth in front of where my wisdom tooth was. My sinuses and noes are achy, too. Late last week, I woke up with a sore neck, and that pain radiates into my right ear and temple. I’ve been taking antibiotics until I can afford to see a dentist. I cannot afford a root canal and certainly not a dental implant. My dental coverage only covers routine exams and cleaning. Could all these symptoms be related to my tooth? I am afraid that I will lose my tooth. I know your doctor has not seen me, but how much longer can I wait? Thank you. Joziah from TN
We are glad that you asked the question! You cannot afford to wait any longer. You are describing a tooth infection that is spreading. If you act quickly, a dentist might be able to save your tooth with root canal treatment. Otherwise, a dentist might need to remove the tooth.
What If You Cannot Afford a Root Canal?
If you cannot afford root canal treatment, look online for a nearby university dental school, a dental clinic, or a local dental society. Any of those organizations can direct you to dentists who treat patients that require prompt, serious care.
If you go to a hospital emergency room or an urgent care facility, they may give you pain medication or a more potent antibiotic. But eventually, you must see a dentist for root canal treatment even if you do not have dental insurance.
Are Antibiotics Enough to Treat a Tooth Infection?
Continually taking antibiotics for tooth infection can promote an antibiotic-resistant infection that becomes worse. The American Dental Association confirms that the infection can even spread without root canal treatment into the bone supporting the tooth.
The only way to treat an infected tooth is with a root canal procedure or tooth removal. A dentist will not recommend a dental implant knowing that you cannot afford it. Please do not let the cost of treatment prevent you from getting help.
Steven Brooksher, DDS of Baton Rouge, sponsors this post. Dr. Brooker is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.