I went to the dentist on Tuesday for a bad toothache. The tooth has a large deep filling in it and he said it is cracked in 2 places and it appears they were not new cracks. The gum around the tooth is receding and he said the roots were exposed. He referred me to an endodontist and sent me home with penicillin every 6 hours (500mg) for a week. Also ibuprofen 800mg every 6 hours for pain. I was expecting some relief from the antibiotic after 48 hour but it has been 4 days and I am still requiring the high dose ibuprofen every 6 hours! Is this normal or should I go back right away?  I have pain on the entire side of my face, my jaw hurts on that side also!

Hi Dawn,

I'm sorry all this is going on...NO, this is not normal. Usually it takes 24-48 hours for an antibiotic to start working and you are way beyond that. I would suggest that you call your dentist, even though it's Sunday, explain what you are feeling and ask for help. He/she should have an after hours emergency number for patients like you who need help. You may need stronger pain medication and/or a different antibiotic. You should also call the endodontist's office first thing Monday, tell them you are in severe pain and that the need to be seen as soon as possible.

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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