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Mark Bornfeld, DDS
Mark Bornfeld, DDS, Dentist
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 6020
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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My husband's gum above his front tooth is swollen and he is

Resolved Question:

my husband's gum above his front tooth is swollen and he is in a lot of pain. His right side of his face is also very swollen. Swelling stops just below the eye. I am worried that the swelling can go to his eyes -- what should we do?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  Mark Bornfeld, DDS replied 5 years ago.
Welcome to JustAnswer, and thank you for putting your trust in me!

Your description strongly suggests the presence of an acute dentoalveolar abscess. This usually requires that the tooth either receive root canal therapy or be extracted.

However, the upper incisors are in an area of the face where spread of infection is possible, and prompt treatment would be warranted. Your husband should arrange for an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. If he cannot obtain an appointment with a dentist within the next day, he should seek care at an emergency room or acute care facility.

In the meantime, he should make liberal use of over the counter pain medications to control his discomfort. An effective regimen utilizes alternating every 4 hours between 400 milligrams of ibuprofen and 1000 milligrams of acetaminophen. Please note that this regimen is inappropriate for patients with peptic ulcer or liver disease, and you should not exceed 3000 milligrams of acetaminophen in any 24-hour period.

Hope this helps...
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The tooth I mentioned is a tooth that he has gotten a cap on approximately 2 years ago. I did call the doctor but due to the holiday weekend they can't see him until Tuesday. They did put him on penicillin -- does that help with the infection?
Expert:  replied 5 years ago.
Penicillin is the first line antibiotic for dental infection; assuming it's being given in an adequate dosage (for amoxicillin or penicilliin V, that would be 500 milligrams four times a day), it should help, but you may not see significant improvment until at least 36 hours have passed. If swelling becomes severe, or if there are symptoms of toxemia (high fever, changes in mental state, prostration), it may be necessary to obtain more timely intervention. Keep in mind that there is increasing incidence of antibiotic resistance, and not all infections respond dramatically to antibiotic therapy alone. The situation should be monitored closely, and urgent care implemented if the need presents.

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Good luck!
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