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Dentistry/Antibiotics with tooth extraction


Hi, Dr. Moss,

  My daughter is 7 years old and had to be taken to the ER this past Saturday for a toothache. The Er doctor gave her an antibiotic to take for 5 days because he said he thought the tooth was abscessed.
Well, on Tuesday, i took her to the dentist, and she confirmed that my daughter did have an abscess and wants took extract the tooth.  The problem is, she finishes her antibiotic tomorrow and her extraction appointment is a week away.
   I have heard that as soon as you finish your antibiotics, the abscess can come back, and this time be much worse. Is this true? I was wondering if I should call her dentist and see if she can give me another antibiotic to get my daughter through until her appointment, or should i see if she could do it sooner? My daughter was in such pain before she took her antibiotic and i am just very worried that she will be in that much pain for another week.

Any information or advice you could give me would be much appreciated!

Thank you,

Dear Tracy,
please excuse the delay in responding to a question that demands an early answer.
First, the infected tooth should be removed. It is not healthy to keep it in the mouth even if your daughter is symptom free.
If the course of antibiotics has helped relieve her pain, and there is no swelling, and she has no elevated temperature, then waiting a week before removing the tooth is not a serious problem.
If your dentist has seen your daughter and looked at the tooth;  then depending on the tooth, the x-ray, and the location of the infection she should be able to GUESS whether or not the tooth is likely to flare-up again during the week before the extraction.
This is a judgement call one that takes experience and is not something I would attempt without examining your daughter in person.
Wish I could be more helpful, the sooner the infected tooth is removed the more relaxed you will feel.
All the best,
Dr. Moss


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Stephen J. Moss


I am a professor emeritus at New York University, with a background that includes extensive research, scientific writing and biology. I also am an international consultant in health education, particularly in developing education on new science for health professionals and consumers. I am a past president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, former head of the NYU Division of Oral Biology and I represent the World Dental Federation at the United Nations. I travel around the world to provide health education to professionals and consumers.


Having retired from New York Universit, where I directed the pediatric dentistry training program, a walk-in dental clinic and research on oral biology, I formalized my professional and consumer health education initiative in the form of Health Education Enterprises. This entity consults and provides information on new science pertaining to oral and general health, particularly leading edge concepts that can be employed in the health professions to improve the public's health. As such, I am an expert in communicating new science and its usefulness to professional and lay audiences alike. I also had a pediatric dentistry practice in New York City for nearly 30 years.

I am affiliated with the American Dental Association, the World Dental Federation, the International Association of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry among other formal organizations. My experience has included a research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health and work at the Forsythe Dental Research Center

lpha Omegan USA, Nowa Stomatologia Poland, Journal of Public Health Dentistry, The Journal of the Southeastern Society of Pediatric Dentistry USA, News Bulletin Japan, Journal of Marmara University Dental Faculty Turkey, Italian Journal of Paediatric Dentistry Italy, Asian Dentist Singapore, The Journal of the Israel Dental Association Israel, ROBRAC Brazil, Italian Journal of Paediatric Dentistry
Italy, FDI World, STOMA Portugal, Pediatric Dentistry The Philippines, Modern Stomatology Bulgaria, Journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry India

I obtained a doctor of dental science (DDS) degree, a master of science degree and am a board certified pediatric dentist.

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