You are here:

Dentistry/infection, where is it draining?


About 10 years ago, I had a dentist in Italy do a root canal and apparently she did a bad job. About 7 years ago, a dentist told me  the tooth is infected and needs to be extracted and a bridge needs built. Because I never had any pain, swelling or other symptoms, I thought he was exaggerating or trying to make money. A month ago, I went to another dentist and after doing x-rays he said the same thing! This means I have had an infected tooth for almost more than 7 years! I asked him about the lack of pain/swelling, and he said that likely it's draining somehow and for that reason I don't have pain or swelling. He gave me an estimate for a bridge and it's not affordable for me, even with the insurance it amounts to almost $4,000 for the extraction, crown, bridge! My question is: since it's draining, where is it going, and since I have no pain could it be causing damage that's going unnoticed? I am overall healthy, just suffer from sinus problems with nasal crusting and frequent crusty phlegm that I cough up. I also have had heart arrhythmia (pvc's) for over 2 years now, but I did an EKG and nothing was found. Wondering if these symptoms can be connected to the infected tooth? and if it drains, where does it go? I don't have any fistulas in my mouth. Can a silent infection as such cause damage? I am also not happy about the bridge that ruins healthy teeth and don't like implants as I have heard bad stuff about having metal in the mouth. I can just extract it as it's a pre-molar, but also heard it's bad to have a gap and can cause you bone loss and make you look old. Looks like there's really no good options for me! thanks

Hello Janet,

You did a very good job of giving me the background. My only question is if this is an upper or lower tooth.  If it's an upper It might be draining into your sinus and if it's a lower it is possible it is draining up near the tooth itself and no fistula might be evident.  It is well known that tooth problems can be related to heart problems but arrhythmia is not really one of them.  Your sinus history is interesting and it is very possibly related as it appears you have a recurrent infection somewhere in your head or sinuses and it's possible it's all related.  I really think you need to do something with this as if there were two dentists who told you the same thing then they must be seeing something on the x-ray like a radiolucency around the root of the tooth.  I hear you about the bridge and it requiring adjacent teeth on which to place it but I need to let you know a couple of things.  Yes, you are right about leaving the gap because it can cause bone loss but also the teeth could possibly migrate and cause bite problems.  We call that occlusion.  I guess my best suggestion, even though it's not what you would like, is the implant.  I truly wish you well and understand all of your concern and thank you for the detailed history and opportunity to help you.

Dr. Karmen


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Thomas Karmen


All general dentistry questions, especially those related to fixed prosthetics. Endodontics, Periodontics, and implants, minor oral surgery I can't answer much about othodontics nor advanced treatment of carcinoma nor deep tissue surgery nor osseous surgery such as jaw reduction or advancement.


DDS In general practice and consulting with having done some lecturing for local dental societies.

ADA and Florida Dental Association and Iowa Dental association

DDS degree

©2016 All rights reserved.