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Mark Bornfeld, DDS
Mark Bornfeld, DDS, Dentist
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 6019
Experience:  Clinical instructor, NYU College of Dentistry; 37 years private practice experience in general dentistry, member Academy of General Dentistry, ADA
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I have a toothache that caused some swelling in the last 2

Customer Question

i have a toothache that caused some swelling in the last 2 days and my dentist office isn't open yet. is there anything i can do to bring the swelling down until i can get in for emergency appointment?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  replied 7 years ago.
Dear ,

The most important objective in treatment of acute
infection is to allow any exudate to drain, because this reduces pain and reduces the tendency of the pressure inside the infection to force it into neighboring tissues. The best way to encourage drainage is to rinse frequently and vigorously (every 3 or 4 hours) for two minutes at a time with hot salt water (½-teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of hot water). This will soften the tissues, as well as reduce pain.

Although clindamycin is an appropriate antibiotic for penicillin-allergic individuals, it must be taken in the correct dose for an appropriate time period. Depending on your body size, you should take 150 to 300 milligrams three times a day, for a minimum of five days. You should inform your dentist of the medications you are taking, so he can assess your response to the medication and determine if any modifications in your regimen need to be made.

In the meantime, monitor the severity of your infection. If it continues to worsen, or if you develop symptoms of toxemia (fever, malaise, prostration), don't wait too long for a dental appointment, but seek help at an acute care facility or hospital emergency room.

Good luck!
Mark Bornfeld, DDS and other Dental Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
do you know what could've caused this exactly? and i'm on 150 mg. and the salt water will bring swelling down? how long till it takes affect with even the pain?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
do you know what could've caused this exactly? what could have prevented it? will salt water bring swelling down as well? how long till it take affect?
Expert:  Mark Bornfeld, DDS replied 7 years ago.
Dental infections can come as a result of a variety of different things-- deep tooth decay, a traumatic blow to a tooth, and periodontal (gum) disease are the most common reasons for oral infection. Usually, these types of events can be prevented by regular diagnostic visits to a dentist, so that any developing problems can be intercepted and treated at an earlier stage.

There is some uncertainty just how soon you can expect the hot saline rinses to reduce swelling, because it depends more on the stage of infection and the degree to which the antibiotic brings it under control. That is why it is still very important to get to your dentist as soon as possible. When you call your dentist, you should emphasize the urgency of your situation so that you are given the priority you deserve.

Good luck!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
thank you! i will call tomorrow to get an emergency appointment, or maybe even call his cell later today (which is on the office machine for emergancies). also, will an ice or heat pack make any difference?
Expert:  Mark Bornfeld, DDS replied 7 years ago.
Although externally applied heat or cold may provide some comfort, oral rinsing is more likely to facilitate the evacuation of pus and other inflammatory exudate.

Good luck!