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Dr. Behere
Dr. Behere, Dentist
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 2844
Experience:  Masters degree, years of experience with all kinds of dental problems.
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Just came from dentist. Been having horrible pain in jaw.

Customer Question

Just came from dentist. Been having horrible pain in jaw. xray showed infection of wisdom tooth and outside in jaw area. Gave me zpack. Will start taking it in one hour once its filled. but dentist scared me saying infection outside body and it can kill me!!!! I already have anxiety issues so this didnt help..tomorrow see surgeoon...can infection spread as dentist told me when she suggested to go to ER since face swollen? needed a follow up with justanswer dentist but didnt give option so restating it here
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  Dr. Behere replied 1 year ago.


Thanks for putting up your question on Just Answer.

Technically yes your dentist is right but that is really the extreme end of the spectrum. Such extreme levels of infections are rarely seen nowadays due to the abundant availability of antibiotics.

Technically speaking, as swelling of the face should be taken very seriously. Infection from teeth, most commonly lower back teeth, can spread if not controlled. Our face is made of of muscles and bones, which have loose connective tissue between them. These infections are caused by organisms like Staphylococci and Streptococci, which have the capacity to release hyaluronidase, an enzyme that can break through these barriers.

Thus this infection can spread very rapidly.

If untreated for long periods of time, this can result in large swelling of the face, reduction in mouth opening and enlargement of tongue and neck lymph nodes, which can restrict your capacity to breathe which can be fatal. This is called as Ludwig's Angina.

But if you are currently taking any antibiotic then you dont have to worry about what your dentist said can happen. Apply as much ice as possible from outside.

Hope this answers your question.Please leave a positive rating for me if this answer has helped you. I do not get credit for it otherwise.

Dr. Behere

Expert:  Dr. Behere replied 1 year ago.


Im just following up ! Did my answer help? If yes, please leave a positive rating for me. I do not get credit for it otherwise !

If you have any further question, do write back!

Dr. Behere

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
this has been a horrible weekend for me. Been dealing with lots of pain in my right jaw since weds and as each day has gone by the swelling on the right cheek keeps getting bigger and bigger extending into the chin area and under jaw this morning! On Thursday I went to dentist who did xray and said my wisdom tooth was infected and gave zpack. Then since swelling kept growing with pain I went to ER Friday and ER doctor changed my antibitic to Clandimycin. They told me to be patient until antibiotic kicks in. Then yesterday I ended up at the ER two times!!! In the morning because of the swelling and afternoon because my hear went into tachy and pvcs after taking antibitic. At ER face more swollen and pain and I couldnt physically open my mouth enough for doctor to see inside so he ordered a cat scan. He told me everything looked good as far as catscan showed and same with blood work and again sent me home telling me to be patient. The second I walked into my home that same ER doctor called me and told me the radiologist contacted him telling him that he had overlooked something. That he saw in my catscan what seems to be a rock in the salivary gland blocking it and in fact didnt think I have a tooth infection but a salivary gland stone causing infection and told me to follow up with ENT and eat sour candy to produce saliva to try to dislodge it. So my questions are these:1. How can a dentist tell me I have a tooth infection and ER doctor tell me no that I have this other thing? Who is more rightly correct?2. I dont understand with all antibiotics I am taking WHY the swelling gets bigger or at least not just stay the same? I am so depressed. I look disfigured and really start to believe the swelling will never go down and I will never look like myself again. Will the swelling go down and away forever? If so when? And was does it keep getting bigger? How does it get reduced?3. Im scared to take antibitics because of tachycardia and pvcs I got yesterday after taking it and this morning again I took it and again I got tachycardia but went away after 1 minute and no pvcs. Is it a reaction to the med Im starting to have or anxiety? Keeo in mind I have been on clandimycin since Friday and havent had any side effects until yesterday and this morning.4. How our salivary gland stones treated if they dislodge on their own? I saw a photo where it shows an operation of the whle cheek, all skin peeled off? Is it that drastic?
Oh and ER doctor said cat scan showed no abcess!
Thank you!