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Dentistry/root canal treatment


Hello Mr. Backlund,

I have had pain in my lower teeth for a few years ever since I had a root canal infection and treatment.  Without going into too much detail a dental student performed the first and my own dentist was to finish it.  But the dental hospital lost my file and my dentist refused to complete the treatment without the hospital notes.  A stand off ensued between the two entities.  In hindsight I think I was being used as a pawn in a fight by my dentist with the hospital as he had previously said they were useless and lazy.  The tooth got re-infected and I got another dentist to complete it.  

But since then I have been unable to eat since then without setting off terrible pain in my lower teeth.  Eventually I went to an endodontist on Thurs.  He root treated this tooth and the one beside it.  It was painful even though I was anaethised.  But since Thursday I am in almost constant pain despite swirling with salt water and taking ibuprofen.  My heart is also fluttering a bit.  Sometimes there is a muted throb in my chin and a tingling sensation in my lips.  

While he was treating the root a lot of pus burst forth.  What should I do?  Perhaps he just shook up and disturbed the infection and it will take a while for it all to settle back and my body to fight the residual infection.  How long should I give it before going to the doctor.  Do you think my body will eventaully fight this without resorting to antibiotics?

Sorry for the long winded explanation of situation but I just wanted to fill you in on the background as maybe it is acting like this because of the long history and will just take a while to settle back.



Hi Nuala, certainly sounds like you are having a really tough time. I'm so sorry this is all going on with the holidays so near.

Unfortunately, since I can't exam you or see your X-rays, it's hard for me to be certain with my advice, but it certainly sounds to me like you have an acute infection. With time, your body will probably heal this, but in the meantime, you will be miserable and things could get worse before they get better. With the tingling sensation on your lip and throb on your chin, it sounds like the infection is progressing.

If I were you, I would call the endodontist's office ASAP and ask for help, even if it's the weekend. I think you really need antibiotics and the sooner you get started, the sooner you will start feeling better. I would also ask for stronger pain medication to get you by until the antibiotics start working which is usually 24-48 hours after you start taking them.

I hope this helps.

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD


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Gary Backlund, DMD, MSD


I am an Endodontist ( root canal specialist ) and can answer questions about root canals and their treatment. I cannot diagnose or treat online, but can answer general questions. I have been a specialist for 25 years and am Past President of the Washington State Association of Endodontists.


25 years practicing as a specialist

American Association of Endodonists, Past President Washington State Association of Endodontists.

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