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    Thread: how long can a tooth be infected? dangers?

    1. #1
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      Nov 2005
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      Default how long can a tooth be infected? dangers?

      hi, i have posted here before and explained a bit about some of my dental woes, but today i have a question i would love to have answered.
      i have a infected front tooth, developed a fistula and everything. i also have a abcessed molar.
      this front tooth had a root canal done in feb '04, it was terribly infected then and they performed a apidectomy (sp?) to remove the infected tissue. i never went back to have my crown put on (i know, i know, no need for the lecture, lol). since that time i don't ever put pressure on it beause i know it is a weak/dead tooth. i never ever actually 'bite' into anything. well...around feb '05 it developed a fistula, a 'pus pimple' if you want it in simple terms. lol. so i know it is infected and will probably have to be exctracted.
      the molar is what is really worrying me. i broke it the very first time on 2001 and broke the rest of it real bad in 2003/04. it is now about half a tooth, its missing the entire right half that faces outward, down below the gumline. i don't believe that there is any pulp left in it at all, seeing as how i clean it out with a toothpick i know it is basically hollow. except the part waay below the gumline. that is just terrible infected.
      when i was at the dentist last month to have the molar extracted on the other side, the dentist took x-rays of that tooth and when he saw it, he sucked in his breath, shook his head and said 'oh gurrrrll'. he wanted to pull it out that day, but since i was there to get another tooth removed, i was completly out of cash to get the other done. i saw the x-ray myself and i saw how bad the abcess was/is. and it is ugly. a big necrotic, puss filled, nasty abcess. to put it mildly.
      i don't feel any pain in the tooth at all (unless i get a bit of food jammed down in there or something). and i don't feel any pain in the front tooth that is infected either. but i know for a fact that they are both teeming with infection.
      i have been able to handle all this surprisingly well, but one thing does worry me. what is the worst that can happen to me? i have heard so many rumours that i don't know what to believe. i have been told (all by ppl in the dental field) that prolonged deep infections can cause a jaw infection, or it can spread thru my body, making me sick, causing a blood infection, or causing sepsis, or even death. i have even heard such things as developing a brain abcess. do i need to worry about these things? [smiley=confused.gif] could any of these things be happening to me now and i don't realize it? any help with this would be sooooo appreciated.
      and yes, i do have plans to get things taken care of, and extracted, but that will all have to come with more time (really, its the $$$).
      thanks in advance for any advice...

    2. #2
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      Default Re: how long can i be infected?

      I,m not a dental proffessional( Gordon would be qualified todirectly answer here ) but my concern with the ongoing infections would be the possibility of a bone infection developing .......potentially very difficult to treat -or the infection getting into the bloodstream-which can have other p[roblems . another issue is potential antibiotic resistance .....again not good .Fromwhat you have depicted - this needs immediate attention- and not just in terms of yanking a tooth out . this has the potentioal -if left much longer -of having dramatic negative impact on your health. Gordon- your input /proffessional opinion , please ? Keith

    3. #3
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      Default Re: how long can i be infected?

      Do you know anyone who could lend you the money for the extraction of that molar?
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    4. #4
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      Default Re: how long can i be infected?

      I don't like to spread scare stories, but since you ask. There are two main life threatening complications to this. One is for some very antibiotic resistant bacteria (you'll have grown a nice crop of them after taking lots of different antibiotics for the infections) to lodge someplace like your brain or liver or whatever and set up home. The second is for some gross swelling to take place around the abscessed tooth and rapidly block off your airway. I've seen the latter and it's very frightening how quickly this can happen.
      I think you need to look at your priorities here. You can obviously afford to spend cash on computers and internet connections but you can't afford potentially life saving treatment?
      --
      Despite appearances to the contrary, Gordon has been a qualified dentist for over thirty years.

    5. #5
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      Default Re: how long can i be infected?

      thanks for the advice. it's not fair for you to judge whether or not i have the money for this and i am not spending it properly. this computer that i am using is seven years old, and was given to me for free. i also am still using dial-up, and the cost is only 9.99 a month, included in my phone bill. to have my teeth taken care of is going to cost me thousands alltogether. i know this. i don't have a car, i don't have a job, i don't have any family. and i don't have any friends that would have the money to give, even if they wanted to. i would love to just throw this tooth thing on the top of my priority list. but its almost the end of the month, and i am still trying to scrape up the money for rent AND food. right now i don't even have enough to go to the grocery store. we are eating ramen noodles everyday (hey its only .7). so please, i am sorry that i would tell you something mean like screw you for saying that. but damn. that hurt. *
      i don't think its fair to judge my financial standpoint when you don't know me.
      i was once sitting in the endodontists chair and she grilled me the same way, asking me to borrow money from my parents (hello, i don't have any!), and making me feel pretty small about it. i was bawling my eyes out, right there in the chair, it hurt my feelings so much. i left the office crying and crying because i knew i couldn't afford the treatment i needed. sometimes life is just harsh and doesn't give you what you need.
      the tooth i just had extracted last month put me in some pretty serious debt too, the reason behind all the ramen noodles. i haven't been food shopping in months now, cabinets and fridge are completly empty (okay, maybe i have a bottle of ketchup, lol). forget about christmas, it was almost non-existant. i live with two other people, and they are practically starving because of my teeth already.
      so...
      that is why i asked the question. i didn't need any pressure about the money.
      man...am i bitter about this. i just can't help it. i am doing the best that i can over here. i used to be homeless a few years ago. sleeping wherever i could, eating whatever i could. brushing my teeth in restaurant and gas station bathrooms. so tell me i have the money for this again....
      thank you for the medical part of the advice. that was ALL i asked for.
      if this does swell up and damn near kill me, i would have to sell my wedding rings or something to get it taken care of. and that thought is enough to make me want to cry.

    6. #6
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      Default Re: how long can i be infected?

      regarding anti-biotic resistance. hopefully that isn't the case. i have only taken anti-biotics twice in the last six years or so (of course i haven't had health insurance either). they have both been in the last three months. in october i took a course of Cipro for a upper respitory infection /sinus infection (it was going around, everyone in the house got it). and i took a full round of amoxiccilian when i had that last molar extracted in november. that is it. so hopefully they aren't forming too much resistance. i don't really know. i have been pretty seriously sick more than a few times without having health insurance and my immune system seems to kick ass. i tend to heal very nicely and i can fight off alot.

    7. #7
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      Default Re: how long can i be infected?

      Are you eligible for Medicaid or equivalent (which in some US states appears to cover some dental treatment as well)? Or is there any way of obtaining dental emergency treatment for free in your area?
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    8. #8
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      Default Re: how long can i be infected?

      Hi Rayne I am so sorry you are having problems. In Gordon defense, sometimes people think they can't afford dental treatment, but when they step back and see where they are spending thier money they will see they have options. I can tell that is not the case. I can totally relate, as I was in a bad financial situation when my dental problems reached a point that I couldn't ignore anymore. I read you are in the US. Does the dentist accept payment plans? Also I am also without insurance, but I found a site called maxdental. It saves me alot on my dental treatment, ususally 40%-60% off. My only regret is that I wish I had found it earlier. I paid $1200 for a top denture and found out it would have only cost about $550 if I had the plan. I hope this information will help ease some of your worries. Best of Luck

    9. #9
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      Default Re: how long can i be infected?

      okay...i see your point regarding Gordons statement. that most people may have the money and make excuses. that is most definitly not my case, and it just hurt to hear something like that. one of the phobia's i have the MOST about going to the dentist is getting a lecture on the cost (as i wrote, the endodontist did that to me). and i figured that i wouldn't get that here. and when i did, it hurt like a slap in the face. to put it mildly.
      regarding medicare, the government says that my husband makes too much money. you pretty much have to be on welfare and live in government housing, or have babies, or be a senior to get any help. the average low income household has been forgotten about with the current administration.
      some states can help you out alot. i used to live in a state that gave free insurance to children up to 19 and insurance for adults for only $20 a month. including prescriptions.
      but circumstances forced me to move here to the president's brother's state, so there is NO help whatsoever for anybody here. they would let you die before they would spend money on you.
      regarding payment plans...i have tried at every dentist i have ever been to let me do that. they give you some paperwork to fill out and only let you have a payment plan if you have a good enough credit report. i don't have bad credit, but i have no credit, and that is just as bad. even my husband got turned down.
      its sort of a dead-end situation. damned if you do..damned if you don't. *and getting emergency treatment done for free by anybody? hahahaha....now that is funny. as i said, they would rather let you die, than help you.
      *thanks, freakout, for the advice on the dental plans. but i do have insurance now (yay), but the costs are still way too much for me, even with that. everything i need to have done is pricey, extractions, root canals, crowns, and i really really want to get implants someday and that is waaaaay expensive too.
      so again...i am sorry i was a bit mean to gordon, but i think it was mean of him to say that to me. so *
      lol.
      thanks for all the support guys, it does mean alot to me.

    10. #10
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      Default Re: how long can i be infected?

      I really shouldn't post after drinking wine, sometimes my fingers get ahead of my brain. Sorry for the offense, it really, really wasn't meant that way.

      If I could rephrase things a bit more sympathetically? You need to try to sort out your priorities, at the moment, you are putting your health at major risk, so you need to deal with this as your highest priority, if you get really ill through this then you'll be hammered financially as well as physically.

      So, you need to have the infected teeth dealt with, so you should try to prioritise treatment. It's nice to think about implants and crowns and so on, but if they're outside your price range then you need to put them to one side.

      I'm not too well up on US politics, what State do you actually live in and roughly where? There are usually free clinics in the larger areas for needy individuals which you might qualify for.
      --
      Despite appearances to the contrary, Gordon has been a qualified dentist for over thirty years.

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