Tag Archives: Root Canal Treatment

Pimple turning tooth gray

I think I need help fast, but I don’t have a dentist. I have a pimple on my gums which is causing serious pain. I think it’s poisoning a tooth tooth because one of my teeth has turned gray. What do I do if I don’t have a dentist?


Dear Brooke,

Woman grabbing her jaw in pain needing an emergency dentist
Tooth pain is a dental emergency

I’m very sorry you are in so much pain. You’ve got two things going on here. One of which is considered a dental emergency.

Pimple on the Gums

Let’s start with the pimple on your gums. This is a sign you have an infected tooth. The pimple is known as an abscess. This happens because the infection is severe. Infected teeth are considered dental emergencies.

These infections will continue to spread. In some cases, they become life threatening quickly. This is a result of where they spread and how long they’re left untreated. Your jaw is very close to your brain and heart. If the infection reaches there, sometimes it is too late to do anything. There were too many people who died from tooth infections last year, given how preventable it is.

I do realize you don’t have a dentist. Because this needs to be seen to right away, I’m going to suggest you do an internet search for an emergency dentist. These are general dentists who are willing to see non-established patients quickly in cases of emergencies such as yours.

Often, they’ll do what they can to get you out of pain, prescribe an antibiotic for hold off the infection and schedule a follow-up appointment to give the tooth the entire treatment it needs.

A Gray Tooth

When a tooth has turned gray, that is a sign it is either dead of dying. This tooth was also infected, which is a definite indicator the infection is spreading.

The dead tooth won’t have any pain, but the infection is still there and will need to be removed by the dentist. Unlike medical infections, you can’t just take an antibiotic and be done. Antibiotics will only keep a dental infection at bay, it won’t rid your body of it.

With dental infections, the dentist has to get in there and physically remove the infection with a procedure called a root canal treatment. This often requires the tooth to be crowned as well.

Don’t put off getting this seen.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Should I Have Gone to a Cosmetic Dentist for a Root Canal?

Both my sister and I received root canals within the last year. My dentist put a crown on mine, which meant filing down the tooth to a nub. It’s not that attractive either. It’s toward the back so isn’t completely visible but it still bothers me. My sister sees a cosmetic dentist. When he did her root canal, he put a porcelain veneer on hers. It looks so much nicer than mine and she hardly had any of her tooth structure removed. Did I make a mistake not going to a cosmetic dentist?


Dear Betty,

Porcelain crown on left and porcelain veneer on right

You should know there isn’t a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry, which means every cosmetic dentist is just a general dentist who prefers to also do cosmetic work. However, before we get into choosing a dentist to do cosmetic work, let’s talk about a root canal restoration.

Whether or not you get a dental crown or a porcelain veneer restoration depends on a few things. First, the location. If it’s a back tooth, a crown is more important. After a root canal, a tooth becomes more brittle. The crown will protect it from the biting forces which affect your back teeth.

If it’s on the front teeth, you may have a choice. Most of the time crowns are done because there was so much decay on the tooth there is not enough structure left for anything but a crown. However, if the tooth needed treatment because of trauma and is still fully intact, then you could get a porcelain veneer. This is more effective because of the type of forces your front teeth undergo.

However, you’re talking about getting a porcelain veneer on a single front tooth. This requires a cosmetic dentist with superior aesthetic skills.

When You Need a Skilled Cosmetic Dentist

Most of the skills required to do a beautiful smile makeover are not taught in dental school. The dentist has to invest post-doctoral time in learning the skills required. However, there is an aspect that can’t be taught— an artistic eye.

Like any art form, there are different skill levels. So, how do you find the right dentist? The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry realized the quandary patients found themselves in. To remedy that, they began an accreditation program.

To become accredited, dentists have to pass stringent oral and written exams. Additionally, they have to provide evidence of a list of cases they’ve done showing they can give beautiful results. Any AACD accredited dentist can give you a gorgeous smile makeover. They can also match a single porcelain veneer to the rest of your teeth.

If you’re ever in the need or porcelain veneers, make sure you go to aacd.com and find an accredited dentist in your area.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Can I Bill Ex-Husband for Emergency Dental Work?

I’ve been divorced for about ten years. I left my ex-husband because he was abusive. It wasn’t until recently I developed the confidence to start dating again. When my ex-husband found out, he showed up at my apartment after one of my dates and beat me pretty badly. Thankfully, a neighbor noticed what was happening and called the police. He’s been arrested. But, I’ve been left with one chipped tooth and three loose teeth. I’m worried I’m going to lose them if I don’t get seen by a dentist, but I don’t have any money. Would an emergency dentist be willing to bill my ex?


Dear Tanya,
Woman covering her mouth

I’m so sorry you had to experience that. You’ve been through a lot. Unless your ex-husband signs something saying he’ll pay for the appointment, there’s no legal way for the dentist to bill him. However, given the situation, I am pretty positive any dentist would be willing to allow you to get the services you need to save your teeth and pay out the bill a little at a time. Even if they don’t offer in-office payment plans, they’re sure to work with Care Credit.

It’s a medical “credit card” of sorts. It’s more financially friendly than your typical credit card, allowing the patient to get a much lower interest rate than would otherwise be possible. There’s also no penalty for an early payoff.

Given your ex-husband has been arrested for the assault, if you took him to small claims court you’ll be quite likely to win your money back.

You Need to See a Dentist Right Away

With you having some loose teeth, you don’t want to put off seeing a dentist. This needs to be dealt with immediately. If you don’t currently have a dentist, do an internet search using the term “emergency dentist“. These are general dentists who are willing to see non-established patients in cases where urgent care is needed.

They can splint your teeth and fix the chip with dental bonding. They’ll also do an x-ray to make sure there’s no internal damage to the teeth. If there is, they’ll do a root canal treatment and provide a dental crown.

You should know, there is a charity called “Give Back a Smile” that does free dental work for those who’ve suffered domestic abuse. After you get this emergency work done, you should apply.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Is It Normal to Get a Pimple on Your Gums?

I’ve got a pimple on my gums. I’m worried about it. My husband says I’m overreacting, that it’s just a pimple. But, I’ve never heard of a pimple on gums and it hurts. Is this normal?

Danya L.

Dear Danya,

Emergency Dental Care

You’re right to be concerned. This is more serious than a simple pimple. It’s likely one of two things. First, it could be the beginnings of a canker sore and just resembles a pimple. This won’t be very large, but it will “open up” and start to resemble a canker sore rather soon.

This is not an emergency, but you will want to attend to it. Salt water rinses will help, along with over the counter pain relievers. It should clear up within two weeks. If it doesn’t, see your dentist for an oral tissue exam. Sometimes oral cancer resembles a canker sore. Your dentist examines you for this at every check-up. If you’re diligent with your check ups, the canker sore is the more likely scenario.

If it truly resembles a full-sized pimple, then it is most likely a fistula. This is filled with puss, so don’t pop it. You won’t like the taste. A fistula means you have an active tooth infection. This needs to be seen right away. In fact, if you don’t have a regular dentist, you need to see an emergency dentist. They’ll work you in sooner than most dentists even if you’re not an established patient.

There are a number of possible treatment options here depending on why the bacteria is pooling. If the tooth is cracked and leaking bacteria into the gums, then you’ll need a dental crown. If it’s in a visible place then you’ll want to be sure to get an all-porcelain crown. They look completely natural. If there’s an infection, it’s possible to need a root canal treatment.

Either way, you don’t want to put off treatment. The infection will spread. The quicker it’s treated, the less invasive the procedure will need to be.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

A sedation dentist can help with treatment during addiction recovery

I need a lot of dental treatment, and I have a problem. I am in treatment for drug addiction, and when I told my regular dentist this, she refused to give me any pain medication during treatment. We were supposed to do two root canal treatments, and I couldn’t even make it through one whole procedure. I had to have her stop, and though she seemed sincerely sorry, she refused to give me any kind of medication.

What should I do? I have to get these root canals done, and I am pretty sure I also need to decide if I want dental implants, but for sure that is off the table if I can’t find a dentist who will sedate me. I’ve read about the procedure, and no way can I have those root forms implanted without meds.

I appreciate any pointers you can give me. I am trying to turn my life around, and this needs to be done.

Marcus from New England

Dear Marcus,

You need to find a sedation dentist, a dentist who is trained in how to treat pain and anxiety during dental treatment. A dentist who has undergone training in sedation dentistry will understand how to best work with your treatment plan. The dentist who is overseeing your treatment plan might be an excellent resource to point you toward a dentist that will work with you.

Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana cosmetic dentist.

For more information about Cerec crowns, see our website.

Can I get all this work done in one setting?

I’ve got a lot of dental work to get done. I have to get at least four root canal treatments, and I need to have a couple of teeth ground down as TMJ treatment. I also may need to have a dental bridge placed, though my dentist is still considering the best course of action in that case. I also need some dental bonding done on a chip on my front tooth. The problem is that I seriously freak out in the dentist’s chair.

I’d like to get this all done at once. I don’t have much time off of work, and I just want to get it over with. My question is, how much can be done in one sitting?

Frank from Escanaba

Dear Frank,

Time of treatment is determined by the patient’s ability to tolerate treatment. The placement of the teeth that need root canal treatments will affect the amount of time necessary for treatment.

The amount of treatment you need will probably require the services of a sedation dentist. This would have the added benefit of easing your anxiety. If you can’t locate a sedation dentist, or don’t want to go to one, then the length of treatment is largely decided on your ability to tolerate treatment. Your anxiety will probably lessen your ability to spend long hours in the chair, so consider this when you are deciding whether or not to go with a sedation dentist.

If you can’t locate a sedation dentist, you may want to consider going to an endodontist. A specialist will reduce the amount of time you need to spend in treatment.

This blog post created for Lafayette Louisiana cosmetic dentist Dr. Mike Malone.


No dental insurance and an infected tooth

I’ve had a lot of problems with my teeth. I am missing most of the teeth in the rear of my mouth, and now I have an infection that is really painful. It looks like I have a golf ball stuck in my cheek! I am out of work right now, and don’t have any kind of insurance at all. Where can I find someone to help me with this tooth? I asked the doctor at the Free Clinic, but he was not aware of any dental clinics that offer free treatments.

Is there anything I can do to treat this myself?

Thanks for your help.

Darren in Cleveland, OH

Dear Darren,

You’ll need help to get this infection under control. Especially do NOT take oral antibiotics without first treating the source of the infection within the tooth. If you do, you’ll never address the source of the infection and will make the bacteria that remain resistant to antibiotics. You could find yourself with an infection that NO drugs will effectively deal with, and that can be a very serious situation.

A tooth infection can spread to your brain. That is a sobering statement, but we want you to take this situation seriously. Infections in your teeth can also spread to your throat and cause swelling that could interfere with your airway. You have a couple of options here to address this. You can have the tooth extracted. It sounds as if you are missing a lot of teeth, so you may want to start looking into options to regain some functionality. Dental implants are great for replacing missing teeth, but they are expensive and never covered by dental insurance. Dental bridges might work for you, depending on the position of the missing teeth.

Your community may have a clinic where you can go to get the tooth extracted. If they don’t, check at the Free Clinic to see if any of the doctors know any dentists in your area that will help.

The office of Lafayette Louisiana cosmetic dentist Dr. Malone provides this blog as a courtesy.

Are infections in your teeth dangerous?

I don’t have any dental insurance, or medical insurance either. I am writing to ask about a problem I am having, so I don’t waste my very limited resources in going to see the wrong professional.

Here is what has happened: Last week I broke one of my molars. It is the very back molar on the left side, right ahead of where my wisdom tooth used to be, in my lower jaw. Ever since I did that, I have a lot of pain in my cheek and jaw. In the last couple of days, the pain seems to be in my sinuses and nose, too. Basically right now my hold head and face just hurt!

I had some antibiotics left over from a recent infection (they are not expired), so I’ve been taking those but that doesn’t seem to be helping at all. Does all of this sound like it could be caused from that broken tooth, or is this more likely to be sinus issues? I know I need to see someone, but like I said I don’t want to waste my money on a visit to someone who is just going to tell me to go see someone different.

One of my co-workers said today that infections in your teeth can get in your brain?! Is that even true? She said that it can be really dangerous and that has me kind of freaked out. Any advice you can offer would be really helpful.


Eleanor in Ludington, MI

Dear Eleanor,

Your friend is correct–an infection in your tooth is dangerous, and can indeed spread to your brain. You must get this taken care of right away. The infection is spreading, and this will not get better on its own.

Call your dentist and see if he or she will work out some kind of payment plan. Very few dentists will turn away a patient in an emergency situation like this. If by some chance your dentist will not help you, keep calling around until you find one that will, or contact the local dental society (look in the yellow pages for a listing) and see if they maintain a list of emergency dentists in your area that can help patients without insurance or funds. You can also go into the emergency room and they will help you.

You should also discontinue the antibiotics immediately. If you take antibiotics for a tooth infection without treating the source of the infection within the tooth (and oral antibiotics do not touch it), then you simply strengthen the bacteria that remain and make them antibiotic-resistant. Only a root canal treatment or an extraction will reach the source of the infection. If you have to have an extraction, talk to your dentist about a dental bridge to replace the tooth. The location of the infected tooth means that a dental implant would be the best choice to replace the tooth, but dental implants are quite expensive and never covered by dental insurance.

Please do not delay. Get this taken care of right away, before the infection spreads further. Wishing you the best of health.

This blog post brought to you as a courtesy by the office of Lafayette Louisiana cosmetic dentist Dr. Malone.