How to Stop or Treat Infected Tooth Nerve Pain - Beware Dentists Who Refuse to Prescribe Pain Medications

Latest update: February 1, 2022. Page URL indicates original publication date; meanwhile, times change and the updates continue.

Some updated alternate titles for this page would be:
  • Teeth Infections - A Patient's Experience or Perspective and What to Expect From Your Dentist
  • Teeth Extractions - A Patient's Experience or Perspective and What to Expect From Your Dentist

There are dentists who won't prescribe effective pain medications that actually work; this is because they are terrified of the DEA, FDA, whoever. It seems to me that all the dentist would have to do in response to any government agency inquiries would be to show them the relevant X-rays. There is absolutely no excuse for dentists putting patients through such pain and misery when a tooth or teeth become infected.

Beware Dentists Who Don't Prescribe Effective Pain Meds

Here Is a Description of My Own Experience at a Specific Dental Office

I had a tooth causing me the worst pain imaginable. I went to a dentist and was told the tooth was infected and had to be pulled. I said, "Let's get that done."

They refused and said I would have to come back next month. That's right, a patient in major pain and they refused to do anything. They also refused to prescribe any effective pain medications that would have stopped the pain. "OTC Tylenol was it, "said they.

Meanwhile, my whole jaw was hurting by now: all the teeth on my right side, my gums, my tongue, and a splitting headache. That dental office couldn't have cared less.

I remember a time at a dental office many decades ago. I was a patient there with an appointment. An emergency patient without an appointment walked in with extreme pain similar to what I am experiencing now. The office immediately took him in my place and postponed my appointment, with the appropriate meds of course. The doc said the patient was in extreme pain and I understood. I had no problem with it at all. It's a little thing called empathy, something this current office desperately needs to learn.

As for my current experience, I went to the pharmacy to pick up the penicillin and OTC Tylenol. Went home.

Here is a Description of my Daily Routine Until the Tooth Extraction

Oddly, there was no pain when I woke up the next morning. However, it all came back with a vengeance within a half-hour. My speculation is that it has to do with the usual blood pressure rising to daytime levels.

My Day:
  • Took the prescribed penicillin.
  • Took my first 500 mg. Tylenol; took my first two aspirin.
  • Started doing the holding cold water in my mouth over my infected tooth area, that actually works for a few minutes until the water warms up. I have to replace the water approximately every 3-5 minutes.
  • Took second 500 mg. Tylenol. Took another two aspirin.
  • Took third Tylenol. Took more aspirin.
  • Took fourth Tylenol. Took more aspirin.
  • Etc. and all day.
  • More penicillin.
  • I am 70 years old and am no doubt destroying what's left of my liver and kidneys as we speak.
  • Regular doctors say to not take NSAIDs if you have kidney problems, this particular class of medication eventually destroys the kidneys as does too much Tylenol eventually destroys the liver.
  • Still doing the cold water thing.
  • More penicillin (different versions of penicillin may require different time periods for doses).
  • Can't eat anything; when chewing on the left side, the right side still hurts. Fortunately I discovered a liquid supplement called "Boost Plus', so at least I'm getting some nutrition.
  • No matter how much you may want to, don't bring out the pliers.
This is my typical day now for the rest of the month. At the time I was given the advice listed below, logistics prevented me from going back to the pharmacy to obtain the items.

An Update. The penicillin reduced the infection enough to mostly stop the pain after 3 days. That's right; all the dentist had to do was give me a one-time, 3-day, effective prescription and all that pain and misery would have been avoided.

List of Ways on How to Possibly Stop Tooth Infection Nerve Pain
A pharmacist, friends, acquaintances have told me about various pain treatments I can use. Many are not just for infected teeth, but can work for other teeth problems as well. They are:
  • Do take the prescribed penicillin.
  • For infected teeth, hold a cold slurp of water over the painful area of the tooth.
  • For an infected tooth, hold ice cube against tooth; hurts at first, but then stops.
  • Brush thoroughly with Sensodyne toothpaste.
  • Cloves and/or oil of cloves, not readily available (ask your pharmacist).
  • Anbesol.
  • Orajel.
  • Ginger.
  • Rinse mouth and tooth with salt water. Do not subject an infected tooth area with warm salt water, hot coffee, etc. This causes the gases inside the infected tooth to expand against the tooth nerves and will actually increase the pain. Conversely, cold water causes the gases generated by the infection to reduce in volume pressure, thus the reason for coldness usually reducing the pain level.
  • Rinse mouth and tooth with peroxide (pharmacist advises against this).
  • Rinse mouth and tooth with vinegar.
  • Tylenol, if you don't care about your liver.
  • NSAIDs, if you don't care about your kidneys. This includes Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), aspirin (Bayer, Excedrin, Bufferin), Naproxen (Aleve).
  • Do take the penicillin at the prescribed dosage intervals. It will take days, but it might make the pain subside.
  • Ask dentist for a liquid bottle of Lidocaine (fat chance). It is also sold over the counter. This medication could have all sorts of medical risks. Be sure to inform your regular doctor and pharmacists of any and all other medications you may be taking, this even includes vitamin supplements; also advise them of any and all medical conditions you may have. If the doc or pharmacist says do not use it, it would be wise to do as they say. For the purposes of this page and per the doc's or pharmacist's instructions, it is to be used for rinsing and spitting out, do not swallow. More info. The OTC version may not be very effective.
  • As for most everything mentioned above, the pharmacist said any results are very temporary. In other words, you will have to keep doing it over an and over as I did with the cold water.

For Reporting Bad Dentists in California

Other states no doubt have their own applicable dental sites, should not be too hard to find.

Description of During and After the Tooth or Teeth Extraction Experience

Well the day finally arrived and I had two teeth extracted. For those who don't know, tooth extraction technology has completely changed. The old days of you, the dentist, a pair of pliers, and a tug-of-war are apparently gone.

These days and after the numbing, the dentist simply crunches and breaks up the tooth in place. Then they fish out, rinse out, suck out, pick out all the pieces; right down to and including the roots. The whole process was amazingly painless. Is this what all dentists do now? I don't know, but that was my experience.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same for afterwards. Needless to say, the infected teeth have now gone to that great bone heap in the sky; but all your other teeth and gums will hurt like blazes once the numbing agent wears off. Why that is so, I don't know; but that's the way it is. And once again, the dentist will refuse to prescribe any kind of effective pain medication; that is also the way it is. You are once again stuck with overdosing on ibuprofen and/or Tylenol. Both are useless for the first 24-48 hours, but eventually they will help mitigate the pain. There will be lots of bleeding and the dentist will give you information on how to facilitate the healing. Cold liquids help reduce the pain. You won't feel like eating or doing anything else for at least a couple days. Leastwise the experience is a lot better than the whole tooth infection business. Actually, I was generally unable to eat regular food again until the 4th day after the extraction, and that was only if I took a gram of Tylenol beforehand. As for the whole gum pain experience, it took almost two weeks for that to stop.

Here is a very interesting, non sequitur update. I went to the dentist to get some crown work done. They took my blood pressure. They then refused to do the crown work, saying that my blood pressure was too high and that giving me the standard numbing agent for the surgery could possibly induce a stroke. I'd never heard of that before. First time I'd ever been given a blood pressure test at a dentist's office. Things are really different these days. Apparently, if we have high blood pressure, dentists will no longer treat you. Who knew? I guess those of us with high blood pressure aren't worth keeping any special numbing agents in stock.

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  1. It's absolutely unacceptable that this Dentist did not take you in immediately for an extraction! He had to know the excruciating pain you were having. This paranoia that Medical Professionals have, in terms of prescribing "pain medications" and/or any controlled substance, has gone much too far. Rather than doing what is best for their patients, they feel it more important to cover their own ass!
    Drs & Dentists are expected to have a good knowledge of their patients history, all prescriptions & basic physical & mental condition.
    Frankly, I think I would have gone from that office to the Emergency Room, explaining to the medical staff that I simply could no longer tolerate the pain! You should definitely report this dentist to the Board of Health, The American Dental Association & any other pertinent Agency necessary. Do not stand for this shabby treatment!

    1. Actually, the infection must be addressed before any extraction can be done. The numbing agent will not work effectively if there is an active infection, and I don’t think narcotics would have worked either because the infection is what causes the pain, The dentist was correct in giving the antibiotic and scheduling the extraction for a later date (A week later should have been sufficient). I’ve had multiple extractions done in the past, so I’m speaking from experience.


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