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Dentistry/Antibiotics and RCT


I got some fillings done about a week and a half ago, on a Thursday. The Monday afterward, my far back tooth (#18) began to ache badly and by Wednesday, I had to call out of work and see my dentist.

He diagnosed me with an infected tooth that was attempting to abscess and has put me on Keflex (4x a day for 7 days). The pain has gotten a lot less intense but I am still taking 1-2 200mg ibuprofen every time I take my antibiotics. My Root Canal appointment isn't until July 28th, and that's a week and a day after my antibiotics course ends.

I am worried that the infection will flare up again in that time frame. What should I do? Will it be fine for those 8 days of waiting? I can't get in any sooner than that and I'm terrified of getting re-infected or being off the antibiotics and having the infection spread to my brain or heart.

I called my dentist and expressed my concerns yesterday. The receptionist told me that I should finish my antibiotics (tomorrow will be last day) and then let them know how I feel. I am so concerned that I will have a flare up or my tooth will get even worse between the end of my antibiotics course and next Thursday when my RCT is. I've called the endodontist and they cannot fit me in any sooner... but they did put me on a call list if a position opens up before then.

My tooth is a little sore when I bite down still, but no where near as bad. I stopped taking ibuprofen for 12 hours to gauge the pain and it's manageable but concerns me that the only thing fending it off is the antibiotics?

Will I be okay waiting the 1 week without antibiotics or should I see if I can get another round after this? I don't want to hurt or not be able to get numbed.

Dear Molly,

You have a dentist who seems to be taking care of your issue, and is willing to listen if a problem arises.  A few things:

Did your dentist tell you to remain on a soft diet or not chew on that side until the root canal is complete.  Chewing on the infected tooth will make it worse until the root canal is complete.  

Make sure your dentist understands your situation - that your antibiotics have run out and the tooth still hurts and the endodontist can't see you for another week and you're concerned.  Then make sure the endodontist knows that you were given antibiotics that helped, that you've run out, and the tooth still hurts to pressure.  Suggest that they communicate with each other to come to a decision about how to help you.

I can't tell you what will happen after your antibiotics run out.  It is likely that the tooth will become sore again until the root canal is completed.

I wish I could help you more.


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Howard Finnk, D.D.S., P.A., CEO


I am a Family, Implant and Cosmetic dentist. I will answer questions on any aspect of dentistry and matters relating to the smile, gums, jaws and lower face. Member American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, and Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. I have served as District Council Member of Alpha Omega, as well as serving for one term as its President. I am also a member of The Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, and Mount Sinai Hospital Guild. I have served as a Volunteer for Project Dental Health and The Tri-County Dental Health Council.


Having attained over 30 years of clinical experience in private practice in Michigan, in 2001 I was re-certified by taking and passing the Florida State Dental Board Examination. After moving to Florida, I spent nearly 10 years re-honing my skills while working as an Associate Dentist for several large dental groups. In September, 2004, I was appointed Adjunct Clinical Professor at Nova University's College of Dental Medicine. I am certified in placement of Mini Dental Implants, and I am Director of The Florida Implant Center ( On March 1, 2010, at the age of 62, I began all over again by buying a dental practice near my home in the Fort Lauderdale area. As sole owner and Chief Dental Officer of the new Nob Hill Dental Center (, I can now carefully provide dental care to patients who care, all within a caring, joyful environment. Over my career lifetime, I have provided thousands of diagnoses, fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, periodontal treatments, TMJ therapies, partials, dentures and extractions, and dozens of implants for my patients. The only aspect of dentistry with which I have very little experience is orthodontics.

American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, Atlantic Coast District Dental Society, Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, Alpha Omega Alumni Association, and American Association of Dental Implantologists. Formerly, American Academy of General Dentistry, Michigan Dental Association, Macomb Dental Society, Detroit District Dental Society, Tri-County Dental Health Council (a charitable dental care organization)

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Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology from Wayne State University Doctor of Dental Surgery from University of Detroit College of Dentistry Adjunct Clinical Professor, Special Needs Department, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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